Kofta is essentially a Middle Eastern name for meatballs or meat loaf. Most often you will see this in the form of a kabob (basically meat on a stick) but made from finely ground beef or lamb and often served with a classic tzatziki sauce.
Using turkey meat is not traditional but does offer a lower calorie meal. The trick with ground turkey meat is that it needs to be moistened and seasoned well, — almost over-seasoned really — or it comes out dry and bland.
Using the cucumber juice, hot peppers and a few chopped olives along with the olive brine helps to stave off boring, dry meat. My scaled-down cucumber sauce is simple but just the right topping for the turkey.
Put a slight twist on a traditional burger or meatloaf for your next casual barbecue. It’s a Fat and Happy flavorful meal!
Mediterranean Ground Turkey Kabobs with Garlicky Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
- 1 lb turkey meat
- 4 olives, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive juice
- 1 tablespoon finely diced hot pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- cucumber juice (see below)
- seasoning salt
You will need the cucumber juice from the yogurt dip below. Chop the cucumbers and let sit to drain, make the yogurt dip, and then make the meat mixture.
Combine all the ingredients above expect the seasoning salt and juice and mix well. Let the meat mixture rest while the cucumbers finish draining. This will allow the flavors to meld and will ensure the meat is room temperature before cooking. Add the cucumber juice when it’s ready. You should get about 1/4 cup or more. The meat mixture will be fairly loose; add more bread crumbs if needed.
Form the meat around 4 skewers into a cigar shape; sometimes it’s easiest to form into balls first then mold into a longer cigar form. Again, this mixture will be loose, so you don’t want to move the skewers around too much. Set them on a well-oiled plate and season each with a good amount of seasoning salt
On a grill set to medium-high heat, carefully set the skewers onto the grill. Don’t move them until the bottom side is cooked; the meat will easily release from the grill when it’s ready. If you force it too soon, the kabob will fall apart. Use a metal spatula to flip. Then season season the second side.
Remove from heat, allow to rest five minutes. Serve with the yogurt sauce and a tortilla or pita.
Garlicky Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 3 ounces feta
- 1 cup finely diced (or grated) cucumber, unpeeled
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely diced hot pepper
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and pepper
Dice the cucumber first and place in a strainer set over a bowl to catch the drippings. Salt the cucumber and let drain far an hour. Mix the yogurt with the garlic, peppers and lime juice and set aside.
After the cucumber has drained, add to the yogurt mix along with a pepper to your liking. I like a lot of pepper, so I added almost a full teaspoon of fresh ground. The feta should offer enough salt but add a pinch more if needed.
Serve with the Mediterranean ground meat kabobs above.
Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: For the hot pepper, I used a red jalapeno but any hot pepper will do. The goal is to give it a little spice without overwhelming. If you use a serrano or habanero, you may want to use a smaller quantity unless you like the heat.
Also note you could turn these into a burger instead of a kabob; I tested it with half of the meat. What really made that stand out was the feta stuffed into the center of the burger — so delicious!
For more recipes, go to Monique’s blog: http://fatandhappyblog.blogspot.com/