Middle eastern lamb patties with pita and yogurt
"Whether you spell it kefta or köfte or kufte or some other variation, you can find versions of these lamb or beef meatballs throughout the Middle East. The seasoning mixture here is simple, with spices you should already have on your shelf and you can play around, adding fresh or dried mint, grated onion, or a pinch of cinnamon. And if you like a garlicky yogurt sauce, by all means, add a minced clove."
Makes 4 to 6 pita sandwiches
Patties and pita:
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (you can also use beef)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
1 tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 pita bread rounds
1 cup plain full-fat or low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs, such as mint, dill or cilantro, plus herb sprigs, for serving
For the sauce:
In a small bow, whisk the yogurt with the lemon juice. Stir in the chopped herbs, season with salt and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the patties and pita:
In a bowl, use your hands to mix together all of the ingredients, except for the pita. Form the mixture into twelve 3-inch oval patties (about 1 inch thick). Arrange the patties on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm
Preheat a grill for at least 10 minutes and prepare it for grilling over moderately high heat. If you are using a charcoal grill, leave one area where you can grill the pita indirectly.
Oil the grill grates and grill the patties until dark brown grill marks form on the bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the patties and grill for 4 to 6 minutes longer, until just cooked through.
Meanwhile, wrap the pita in foil and set the package on the top shelf of a gas grill or in the cooler spot of a charcoal grill and allow them to warm through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Wrap 2 or 3 patties in each pita, spoon some of the yogurt sauce alongside and serve with herb sprigs, passing the remaining yogurt sauce at the table.
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