18 February, 2013

Persian Turkey Kofte Kebabs with Shirazi Salad

I love Middle Eastern flavors.  The spices, the flavor, the simplicity of the preparation.  This is one of my favorite meals, and it also happens to be a healthy, gluten free, paleo, low fat recipe. 

Popular in Iran, Turkey, Armenia, and other Middle Eastern countries, kofte kebabs are typically made with ground lamb meat and herbs like parsley and mint. These ground meat 'meatballs' are skewered and grilled.  There are endless amounts of variations in meats and herbs, and lentil and potato kofte can be made with no meat at all.
These kebabs are traditionally heavily seasoned with spices like coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and allspice.  I used ground turkey to make them healthier, and spiced them up to disguise that they are not lamb or beef.  

I served these with my favorite Persian Shirazi Salad, which sounds fancy but is really a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and mint. The cold shirazi salad is a perfect cooling complement to the spiced kebabs. 
Add plain rice and some grilled (or in my case broiled) green peppers, and you've got an exotic, healthy meal. 

Persian Turkey Kofte Kebabs with Shirazi Salad

1 lb ground turkey
4 cloves garlic, peeled, mashed with the flat side of knife, and minced
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp grated onion
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire 
1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
Olive Oil
skewers - if using wood skewers, soak first. 
1 Green Pepper, seeds removed and cut into 6 large pieces

Shirazi Salad recipe follows.

Place everything except olive oil and green pepper (and skewers obviously) in a bowl and mix together. Let meat marinate in the fridge for an hour or all day if you have time. 

Form into 6 inch 'sausages.' If using metal skewers, coat in the skewers in olive oil so meat doesn't stick. Thread two sausages to a skewer through the two sausage ends.  You may need to adjust the sizes of your sausages according to the size of your skewers,  Keep them all the same size though. Throw the green pepper on the same pan if there's room, or a separate pan will do.

Broil on Hi for about 15-20 minutes, turning skewers and green peppers occasionally.  They are done when juices run clear, there is no pink, and outsides are evenly charred.

Shirazi Salad:
2 English Cucumbers
4 round tomatoes
1 medium red onion
1 tbsp dry mint or parsley (try to use mint if you have it)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp olive oil

Dice tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions in a uniform small cube size.

Mix olive oil, lime juice, and dried mint (or parsley) in a bowl.
Pour over the vegetables.  Can be consumed immediately, but best if refrigerated for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Serve with plain rice.  You can cook the plain rice in chicken or vegetable stock instead of water for extra flavor.  

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