Recipe of the week: Dish of the year: Mediterranean lamb köfte

Bon Appétit's "dish of the year" is a Middle Eastern version of the humble meatball, served with yogurt sauce and a red pepper spread. 

Some neglected dishes have made a big comeback in this recession year, said Jeanne Thiel Kelley in Bon Appétit. Cooks all over the world have been inspired and challenged to serve “affordable, easy-to-make, absolutely delicious” plates. Here’s our nominee for “dish of the year”—a Middle Eastern take on the humble meatball, served with tahini-spiked yogurt sauce and muhammara, a Syrian red pepper spread.

Recipe of the week

Lamb Köfte With Yogurt Sauce and Muhammara

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2 lbs ground lamb

½ cup minced fresh mint

¼ cup coarsely grated onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

1½ tsp coarse kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Twelve 5- to 7-inch-diameter soft round Middle Eastern flatbreads

2 tbsp (or more) olive oil, divided

2 large onions, halved through core, cut crosswise into ¼- to 1⁄3-inch slices

Line large-rimmed baking sheet with plas­tic wrap. Gently mix lamb and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tbsp for each, roll meat mixture into 1½-inch meatballs. Arrange on sheet. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place large sheet of foil on work surface. Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add flatbreads to skillet 1 at a time; cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Enclose in foil; place in oven to keep warm. Heat 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer onions to one side of large-rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

Add 1 tbsp oil to same skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Sauté half of meatballs until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs, adding oil to skillet if dry. Reserve skillet.

Arrange onions and meatballs on platter. Serve with warm breads, yogurt sauce, and muhammara. Serves 6.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp salt

Stir all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Cover and chill.


½ cup finely chopped, drained roasted red peppers from jar

½ cup water

2 tbsp (or more) pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

Add roasted peppers to reserved skillet; stir 1 minute. Add ½ cup water and 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses. Bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Cook until reduced to 2⁄3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more pomegranate molasses, if desired. Transfer to small bowl.

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