Thursday, August 12, 2021

Lamb Kofte in Peach Ginger Sauce


Eight years and counting... It's hard to imagine that eight years have passed since I pressed "enter" on my first blog post. Eight Christmas trees, eight tax returns, one (rocky) K-8 journey. 


I am not sure that I believe in blogs anymore. Do you? But I do believe in great dishes and wonderful moments at the table, making friends, making memories, so in the spirit of that line of thought... A meatball. Tiny. Like a bead from a necklace. Enveloped in a creamy sauce made of peaches and ginger. Like a velvet robe. Bright with saffron, perfumed with spices, sprinkled with herbs, it's a dish that has summer adventure written all over it.


Lamb Kofte in Peach Ginger Sauce

for the kofte

1 pound lean ground lamb
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons half and half or whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (dry oregano also works)
salt and freshly ground pepper

for the sauce

1 ¼ cups water
8 - 10 saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet (Vidalia) onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 large yellow peaches or nectarines, chopped
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon ginger grated on a microplane (or about 3/4-inch long knob of ginger, peeled)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon lime juice (or up to taste)
1 tablespoon half and half or heavy cream
1 cup of basil leaves (optional)
salt and freshly ground white pepper

First make the kofte. In a large bowl, mix the lamb and all other ingredients, until fully combined. Using moistened hands and about a scant teaspoon of mixture, make small balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter. (This will make about 50 kofte. If you prefer to cut some time on the prep, feel free to make larger kofte, but remember, the small ones are incredibly cute). Refrigerate the kofte until ready to poach in the sauce.

Warm 1 1/4 cups of water. Soak the saffron threads for about 20 minutes.

In a large sauté pan,
heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft, but still pale. Add the garlic and sweat for another minute or two. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, combine the peaches, ketchup, ginger, sugar, cumin, and coriander. Add the saffron water and sautéed onions. Blend into smooth pure.

Pour the peach sauce into the sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, for flavors to combine.

Gently add the kofte to the sauce. Simmer for about 25 minutes, half covered (or 30 minutes for larger kofte). Turn the kofte midway through.

Right before the kofte are done, add the cream, lime juice, basil leaves (if using), salt and pepper. Mix well and saute for another minute or two. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and if desired, add more lime juice.

Remove from the heat and wait for 10 minutes before serving. To serve, sprinkle with chopped basil, mint, or parsley. Serve with steamed rice, couscous, or warm flatbread.

 Serves 6