Skewers of savory, tender and spiced up meat await you…
Not necessarily spice in the heat sense but spice in the flavor sense. Kefta is by far one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes. I mean could you ever really go wrong with an herbed up, spiced up meat? Probably not, but this one also just so happens to be baked in a meat sauce so, #winning? I think so! Enter flavor-ville…
I first tried kefta when I was living in Dearborn, Michigan (a city with one of the highest Arab populations in the U.S.) and my internal thought when it was put in front of me was probably “why in the world is there so much parsley in all Middle Eastern food?!” There are heaps of the stuff mixed into the meat. Growing up in Georgia, this was a totally foreign concept to me. Parsley = garnish and nothing more. And of course, the kefta was also served with tabouli which is about 99% parsley as well. Now, ten years later I would kill for a plate of kefta and tabouli, by and large because of the parsley.
The mixture of fresh herbs like parsley, mint and cilantro cut through the savory and potent allspice, paprika and cumin. Proof positive that you should always be up for trying a new flavor because it could end up being your favorite!
So, after you’ve loaded up your spices to your hearts desire and mixed them in well, I mold little football shapes out of the meat and fry them quickly to keep them in tact. Guys, the smell of your house while this is happening? AMAZING. You’ll want to lick the pan right there and then…but don’t, obvi totes 🙂
Using the same deep dutch oven, I add in all of my tomato sauce ingredients, stick it in the oven and BAM! Dinner is served. Honestly, the prep will take a bit to complete but the cooking is so simple. And are we not all fans of one-pot recipes? Heck-to-the-yas. Kefta in tomato sauce also makes for awesome meal prep for the week. It stays well in the fridge when the flavors can really settle.
Typically, kefta is served with pita, hummus and tabouli. However, since it’s wintertime and the holidays are here, I used a side of these Truffle Oil Scalloped Sweet Potatoes instead and they make an awesome combination. This might not be your traditional Western holiday dish but if someone served me kefta in tomato sauce at their holiday dinner table I would be over the moon. So, this should totes make an appearance at your holiday table this year!
Get your Middle Eastern food on, get your meal prep on and spice up your holiday season!
Save the pin below!
- 1.5 lbs. of ground beef or lamb
- 1 medium white onion, finely gated
- 2 red chilies, chopped (optional)
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (additional, if preferred)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Add all kefta ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix together using your hands (but don't over-mix as this will make the meat dry) and let sit for about 30 minutes for the spices to set. Take scoops of the meat and form small football shapes. Turn oven to 325 degrees.
- Put a large dutch oven over medium heat on the stove. Add the oil and once it is heated, add the kefta until just cooked, then flip and do the same on the other side. Remove from heat to a plate and set aside until all kefta is done.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook garlic until slightly brown and scrape up the browned bits from the meat. Add the all-spice until fragrant and then tomatoes. Stir. Add kefta to the tomatoes.
- Put in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until kefta is cooked through. Serve.