Top | Main Dishes

Lamb Kefte Kabobs

(recipe, Katie Hickey)


  1. For sauce
  2. 1 cup plain yogurt (preferably whole-milk)
  3. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  4. 1 tsp. minced garlic
  5. ⅛ tsp. salt
  6. For kefta (meatballs)
  7. 2 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
  8. 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  9. ¼ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  10. ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  11. 1 lb. ground lamb (or if, like Deb, you do not like lamb, dark turkey meat is an excellent substitution)
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. ½ tsp. ground allspice
  14. ½ tsp. cayenne
  15. ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  16. ¼ tsp. black pepper
  17. ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted and finely chopped


  1. Make sauce: Stir together yogurt, mint, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and chill.
  2. Make meatballs: Cover bread with water in a bowl and soak 10 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of bread to remove as much excess water as possible, then transfer to a bowl.
  3. Pulse onion and herbs in a food processor until finely chopped, then add to bread along with lamb, salt, spices, and pine nuts. Pulse to combine and chop, then mix with your hands until well blended. Form lamb mixture into 36 balls (1 scant tablespoon each) OR Make long sausage tubes along metal skewers (they will want to fall apart, but they are delicious).
  4. Assemble and grill kebabs: Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas; see cooks’ note below). Thread 6 meatballs ¼ inch apart onto each of 6 skewers (if not on long meat skewers already). on oiled grill rack, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve warm, with yogurt sauce.
  5. Grilling procedure: On a charcoal grill: Open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. When charcoal turns grayish white (about 15 minutes from lighting), hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack to determine heat for charcoal as follows. Hot: when you can hold your hand there for 1 to 2 seconds; medium-hot: 3 to 4 seconds; low: 5 to 6 seconds.
  6. On a gas grill: preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then, if necessary, reduce to heat specified in recipe.
  7. If you don’t have a grill: Kebabs can be broiled on 2 large shallow baking pans 5 inches from heat, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.