Monday, June 28, 2010
I admit... I had NO idea what to expect when I signed up for the Moroccan cooking class. As far as I know, I have never eaten anything Moroccan before, but I was up for an adventure! WOW! The food was amazing and I left the class with everything I needed to make the recipes, including a Tagine (which will be discussed in a later post).
This post will be focusing on one entree from the class... "Lamb Kefta with Tomato & Roasted Pepper Salad". So, what is Kefta, you ask? (Well, if you didn't ask, I'm going to tell you anyway, because I DID ask!)
Kefta is a common Middle Eastern food that can be found from Greece to India, as far south as Morocco and up through Eastern European countries.
It is made by mixing ground meat (usually lean beef or lamb or a combination of both) with an assortment of spices such as garlic, onions, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, parsley & turmeric. The spice blends vary depending on the cook's taste and the region, making them savory, spicy or slightly sweet.
The meat is then shaped into meatballs or cylinders and cooked by either grilling, roasting, baking, broiling, boiling, frying, steaming or poaching. Often the meat is molded around a cooking skewer before cooking and served as a kebab.
Once cooked, kefta can be served with a variety of sauces such as mild yogurt and cucumber sauces, vegetable relishes, or spicy sauces.
(Note: All Green text are Olivelle recipes that I will share. Green text within a recipe are ingredients that can be purchased from Olivelle locally or on the website http://www.olivelle.com/ )
(Chef Biz Zimney)
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef or Ground Lamb (or 1/2 lb of each, mixed)
1 medium Onion, chopped very fine
2 Tbsp NoMu Moroccan Rub
1 Tbsp Mint Leaves, chopped
1/4 C Moroccan Olive Oil (for frying)
Mix Ground Meat, Onion, Moroccan Rub & Mint Leaves together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer to allow flavors to blend.
Shape the Kefta into round or oblong meatballs or press and shape into long cylinder shapes around a wooden or metal skewer.
Heat a few Tbsp of oil in large skillet, then fry Kefta for about 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook as it will dry out the meat. Add more oil as necessary.
Tomato & Roasted Pepper Salad
(Chef Biz Zimney)
4 Roma Tomatoes - Peeled (opt), Seeded and Diced Small
2 Roasted Green Bell Peppers - Peeled, Seeded and Diced Small*
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 Tbsp Preserved Lemon Peel, Minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Minced
1 tsp NoMu Moroccan Rub
2 - 3 Tbsp Chardonnay Vinegar
1 Tbsp Moroccan Olive Oil
Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) bowl and serve over Kefta.
This is a very easy recipe. The Kefta can easily be prepared in about 1/2 hour. While cooking, the Tomato & Roasted Green Pepper Salad can be prepared. Just be sure to keep an eye on the Kefta so that it does not overcook.
A few notes about the preparation and ingredients:
We like Lamb, so that is all I used in this recipe. Lamb has a bit of a gamey (for lack of a better word) flavor, so if you do not like lamb or are unsure, I would encourage you to use the 1/2 & 1/2 recipe. The spices will "tame" the distinct lamb flavor and you may even choose to make it will all lamb the next time!
Although the recipe calls for the tomatoes to be peeled, I left the peel on mine. I have had it both ways and did not notice a significant difference. If you do want to peel the tomatoes, the easiest way is to blanch them. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to hold the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 5 -15 seconds, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. The skins should peel right off.
*To roast pepper: You will want to do this at least several hours in advance and can be done several days in advance. Cut top & bottom off a green bell pepper. Cut into 3 - 4 slices strips and remove seeds. Lay skin side up on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place under broiler for 5 - 10 minutes until skin is charred & bubbly. Remove from oven, place in a covered dish or baggie and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Leave in refrigerator for at least several hours for easy peeling. The peel should pull off very easily.
We will continue our Moroccan adventure on a later post, but for now...You are Off on your OWN road to Morocco!