Algerian Night- Kefta and Mint Tea

If you can’t be in Algeria, you can certainly taste it with this easy, yet delicious Kefta recipe, served with rice of your choice- basmati, plain boiled jasmine, of even rice pilaf!

KEFTA

(MIDDLE EASTERN SPICED MEATBALLS)

4 to 6 servings, or about 20 meatballs

INGREDIENTS

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  • Ground lamb or beef, or a mixture of the two -- 2 pounds

  • Onion, minced -- 1

  • Fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped -- 1/2 bunch

  • Ground cumin -- 1 tablespoon

  • Cinnamon -- 2 teaspoons

  • Allspice (optional) -- 1 teaspoon

  • Salt and pepper -- to season

  • Oil -- 1/4 cup

METHOD

  1. Place the ground beef or lamb, onion, herbs, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl and knead together well. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 to 2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle and make the meat easier to handle.

  2. Form the meat mixture into balls, patties or ovals the size of a small egg.

  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame and, working in batches, sauté the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through. Browned meatballs can also be finished in a 350ºF oven.

  4. Serve as is or in pita bread as a sandwich with tzatziki sauce.


Algerian Mint Tea

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 tablespoon loose Chinese gunpowder green tea

    1. 5 cups boiling water

    2. 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

    3. 1 large bunch fresh mint (1 ounce)

  2. Special Equipment

    • a 1- to 1 1/2-quart teapot

PREPARATION

  1. Put tea in teapot and pour in 1 cup boiling water, then swirl gently to warm pot and rinse tea. Strain out and discard water, reserving tea leaves in pot.

    1. Add remaining 4 cups boiling water to tea and let steep 2 minutes. Stir in sugar (to taste) and mint sprigs and steep 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve in small heatproof glasses.