This Middle East-inspired dish features an enticing array of seasonings and textures. The saltiness of the anchoiade tames the richness of the lamb, and the yogurt brights up everything. When meat is ground for burgers, the goal is to keep it crumbly and loose. Here, you want to grind the meat until it is very smooth, and then compress it firmly around the skewers. You can also ask your butcher to finely grind the meat for you.
Lamb Kofta with Anchoiade and Mint Yogurt
1 1/4 lb. (625 g) boneless lamb shoulder
1 small yellow onion, cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
Olive oil for brushing
3 Tbs. minced fresh dill
1 Tbs. sweet paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. mild chile powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the anchoiade:
12 anchovy fillets, soaked in water for 5 minutes, drained and patted dry
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
3-4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
For the mint yogurt:
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. minced fresh mint
Cut the meat into rough 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks. Remove the large, hard pockets of fat, but retain some fat, which will help keep the meat juicy. Place the lamb on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Brush the onion slices very lightly with oil. Heat a cast-iron frying pan or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion slices and cook, turning, until charred and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Place half of the lamb in a food processor and pulse about 15 times until minced. You may have to redistribute the meat to achieve an even texture. Transfer to a large bowl, process the remaining lamb, and add to the bowl. Add the grilled onion, dill, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, chile powder and 1 teaspoon salt to the processor and pulse until finely minced. Transfer to the bowl. With clean hands, combine all the ingredients evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, soak 8 skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the anchoiade: In a mini food processor, combine the anchovies, garlic and parsley. Season with pepper. Add just enough oil to moisten the ingredients and pulse until smooth.
Divide the lamb mixture into 8 equal portions. With wet hands, form a sausage shape 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) long and about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter around each skewer, molding and compressing the mixture firmly and evenly and pressing it at either end. Wrap 2 inches (5 cm) of the blunt end of each skewer in aluminum foil to make a handle. Brush the lamb mixture lightly with oil and season generously with pepper.
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat grilling over high heat. Oil the grill rack well. Place the skewers on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire and cook, turning once or twice, until the exterior is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 2 minutes.
Make the mint yogurt: In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, vinegar, mint and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove the foil from the skewers and arrange on warmed plates. Drizzle with the anchoiade and serve at once with the mint yogurt.
Recipe from The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns.