venison burgers, moroccan style (kefta)
last weekend when the father-in-law visted (official first in-law visit) he brought some venison with the intention of making meatballs to go with a pasta and sause. but he didn't want to cook and i made a meat sauce without the venison and it was all good.
honestly, venison kinda scares me.
but as i was considering menu ideas this week i ran up against a couple recipes for an arabesque ground meatball-burger thing that i tend to like when i can find it in mediterranean restaurants -- kefta. the original recipe calls for fatty ground beef and ground lamb but it seemed like i could swap out the lamb for venison and it would be fine.
it was. mighty fine.
these are going to be smallish mini burgers, each person getting a few. i'm pan frying them here, but you could skewer them like in the picture and grill them up.venison-beef kefta
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb ground venison
- 1 medium onion grated or chopped super fine
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 good sized handful of cilantro, chopped up real good
- 1 good sized handful of flat leaf parsley, also chopped to heck
- 1 small handful fresh mint leave, chopped beyond recognition
- a pinch of salt
- a tablespoon of olive oil
just like with meatloaf, you gotta mix this stuff up with your hands until it's all blended
divide and form into patties about 1.5 inches across; you should get about 20 mini burgers
heat the oil medium-high in a large frying pan
cook as many as will fit at once (probably two batches if pan frying) about 4 to 6 minutes a side
now, about serving these...
you can't just serve these up like regular burgers. the collection of flavors in the meat begs for your attention, the kind of attention that gets squelched with ketchup and mustard. no, for this what you need is a side tabbouleh salad and...cucumber salad with mint yogurtyou could also have this on the side, but we spread it on top of the burgers and it was fantastic.also, make this while the burgers cook or risk the over-runny salad monster from leaking cukes
- 1 large or 4 small cucumbers, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then into little half moon slices (3 -4 cups)
- 2 cups greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed like mad
- 2 sprigs worth of mint leaves, chopped, chopped and chopped
you mix the mint and garlic with the yogurt in your serving bowl
you toss in the cukes, mix to coat, that's that
i promise you, it's like a little hint of spring in winter to eat these, like the promise of summer. and a great alternative to a regular old burger night. no reason why you can't make them bun-sized, though i'd still recommend the cuke yogurt salad along side in a mini pita.
kid tested and approved.
mini burgers give dieters portion control (unless they dip for seconds).
who knew venison could be a good lamb replacement?
Labels: beef, burger, cucumber, ground, kefta, morocco, salad, venison, yogurt