Kiftah; herb & spice seasoned minced meat
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
This is a basic recipe for all sorts of things that include this meat mixture. Kiftah is a basic mixture of minced meat usually lamb or beef but you can use whatever you like or a combo of meats will be tasty too. The meat is flavored with onions and parsley and spices. The kiftah mixture might vary from region to region even within the same country. In Palestine kiftah is often skewered and grilled over open flames in the summer time. Baked with potatoes and tomato sauce, shaped into patties and baked in a tahini sauce, or made into meatballs for soup and stews.
In Palestine Kiftah mixture is often prepared by your butcher. They will grind the meat cut of your choice with the onions and parsley right there in front of you. They will also grind the meat to the consistency you like depending on what you are cooking. I often heard words like "khishin" means roughly minced or fine mince, you get the idea. They will also trim or add fat depending on your taste and preference. Going to the Butcher wasn't my favorite thing as a child the smell of raw meats was so intense for me but now i look back and if there was one thing I appreciated about our local butcher was the freshness of everything and the amazing smell of ground parsley and onions once it hit the grinder with the meat.
1 pound minced lamb or a mixture of lamb and beef (I also use ground turkey or chicken)
1 onion, finely chopped (I use the cheese grater to do this) I like the texture as it almost melts in the meat as it cooks.
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tomato grated on the cheese grater (discard the skin)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
Few grates of fresh nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
To make the kiftah:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and it’s best to mix with your hands until incorporated. Shape into balls, patties, or skewer them on sticks*.
*Tip: If you are using wooden sticks. Soak them in cold water for 30 minutes prior to prevent them from burning on the grill.
You will need a bowl of cold water to help you shape the kiftah and keep it smooth. Divide the kiftah into the size and shape you want. Dip your fingers in the cold water if they become too sticky. Chill the kiftah until you are ready to cook it (chilling the kiftah will help it hold its shape) You can make the kiftah a day ahead and refrigerate or freeze the whole mixture for up to 3 months.
To cook the kiftah:
You can sauté the kiftah in a frying or a grill pan, in the oven or grill it on the BBQ.
Heat some canola oil in a heavy pan, working in batches making sure not to overcrowd your pan so they can crisp not steam. Sear the kiftah on all sides until browned and crispy. You can finish cooking them in the oven to the dones you like (if you are cooking with poultry make sure to cook it all the way through). The cooking time will depend on the size of your kiftah. For half an inch patties it will take about 5 minutes per side.
Prep your gas or charcoal grill. Grill your patties or skewers turning them once until charred and cooked through about 3 minutes per side for half an inch thick patties.
Preheat your oven to 350 and bake your kiftah for about 45 minutes r until its browned and cooked through.