I want to take you back into my kitchen as there is a recipe I would like to share.
Everyday Food ran a recipe for what they called Chicken Koftas a few months ago, and this is the variation my family and I enjoy! It may seem complicated, but if you have the tools and ingredients on hand it is simple and so delicious! And although it may be a deviation from my norm of limes, heat, cilantro and margaritas, these happen to also be fantastic flavors for summer!
There are 3 parts to this recipe: a meat patty, a cucumber sauce, and pita. I prefer to make my pita using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe.
Pita aside you will need the following ingredients.
~1.25 lbs chicken or turkey. (Because everything ends up in the food processor, I have used whole raw chickens before by cutting the meat right off the bird, but you can also use ground meat (like I did here), and/or any other form of boneless poultry you have.)
Half an onion
3/4ths of a bell pepper (I prefer green for this recipe)
Basil (a couple of teaspoons frozen or a handful of leaves)
Parsley (a handful)
1 tsp Emeril’s Creole Seasoning (or any other good seasoning you have)
Salt & Pepper
~ 1/2 cp Plain Yogurt (preferably a thick Greek style yogurt)
~ 1 Cucumber
~ 5 large mint leaves (for good flavor!)
Agave Nectar (or other form of sweetener)
Salt & Pepper
I start off by making the meat. I throw all vegetables, herbs, & seasoning into a food processor and give it a whirl until it is broken up into somewhat of a fine mush. Once it is pretty well pulverized I add the meat and pulse until everything is combined. At this point you will have a pretty wet, somewhat soupy meat mixture … but trust me, it works.
In my skillet I heat up a somewhat generous amount of peanut oil. (I would imagine any oil would do. I prefer peanut for both flavor and it’s ability to withstand high temperatures). Taking a handful of the meat mixture, I form a patty roughly the size of my palm and toss it into my pan. Again, it will be somewhat of a wet mixture … but it works. Depending on the size of your patties I would estimate you will get anywhere from 8 – 10, which means I usually cook them in 2 or 3 batches — aiming for 2 in order to be done sooner!
I cook them for a few minutes on each side until they are browned and cooked all of the way through. As the meat will be broken up into a pita, feel free to cut one, or all, in half to check whether or not they are cooked!
Once you have a patty completed, taste it! This will allow you to know how well to season your cucumber sauce!
While my patties are cooking I start on the cucumber sauce. With a mortal and pestle I grind my mint leaves, roughly chopped, with some coarse salt until my leaves are broken down. (If you don’t own a mortal and pestle you could a) chop your mint leaves up real fine or b) chop your mint leaves up real fine and then grind them a bit in a bowl with salt and the back of a spoon.)
To a medium sized bowl add your cucumber, peeled and diced, your broken down mint, and yogurt. Then, and especially because all plain yogurts are slightly different, add small amounts of agave nectar, salt and pepper to taste. I tend to like a lot of pepper, enough sweetener to add just a mild sweetness to the sauce, and enough salt to balance out the meat patties. (If you find your meat is salty, don’t add much to your cucumber sauce — contrarily, if your meat is a bit bland in the salt department, make sure your sauce pops with flavor!) Mix all together and set aside.
If you are making your pita using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe, I roll out my dough and bake in a convection oven for approximately 5 minutes @ 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
To serve I break up 1 to 2 meat patties and place either in, or on top of, a pita. Then top with a generous amount of cucumber sauce, sliced tomato and onion. Enjoy!