Weekend Recipe: Grilled Beef Kofte

There's a lot of grilling out to be done this weekend. May we suggest something a little more interesting than steaks and burgers? This requires a fair amount of mixing, initially, but the payoff is quite delicious. Many thanks to America's Test Kitchen for the recipe.

Serve with rice pilaf or make sandwiches with warm pita bread, sliced red onion, and chopped fresh mint.

Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen

Grilled Beef Kofte
Serves 4-6

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pine nuts
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef
1/2 cup grated onion, drained
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 large disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal)

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1. FOR THE YOGURT-GARLIC SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Set aside.

2. FOR THE KOFTE: Process pine nuts, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon in food processor until course paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add beef, onion, parsley, mint, and gelatin; knead with your hands until thoroughly combined and mixture feels slightly sticky, about 2 minutes. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into 5-inch-long cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Using 8 (12-inch) metal skewers, thread mixture onto skewers, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer skewers to lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Using skewer, poke 12 holes in bottom of disposable pan. Open bottom vent completely and place disposable pan in center of grill. Light large chimney starter filled two-thirds with charcoal briquettes (4 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour into disposable pan. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.

4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place skewers on grill (directly over coals if using charcoal) at 45-degree angle to grate. Cook (covered if using gas), without moving them, until browned and meat easily releases from grill, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip skewers and continue to cook until browned on second side and meat register 160 degrees, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer skewers to large platter and serve, passing yogurt-garlic sauce separately.

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