Tuesday, March 15, 2011

As Close to Pi as I'm Going to Get

Yesterday was Pi Day, 3/14.  I should probably turn in my nerd card since I didn't bake a pie.  I think I've baked approximately 3 pies in my entire life (4 if you count the Meringue Debacle of 2003).  While they were good, they can't hold a candle to my mom's pies.  Last night I got home from work and had a choice.  I could attempt to cobble together some sort of pie-shaped thing with ingredients already in my pantry.  Or, I could just cook dinner and then play computer games.  I decided to make a dish that most closely approximated pi(e).  Behold, kofte kebab over crispy pita with tomato sauce and spiced yogurt!  I am the first to admit that this dish isn't the prettiest plate in the world, but it tastes awesome.  And although it requires a decent bit of chopping, the cooking time is relatively short, about 10 minutes for the lamb and tomato sauce.  The yogurt doesn't require cooking and is spooned on cold. Since it's not cooked, nonfat yogurt works just fine.  I adapted the yogurt sauce a little to make it more flavorful. 

Kofte kebab
Adapted from Arabesque
Serves 2


2 large pitas

For the kebab
3/4 lb ground lamb
1/8 to 1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp sumac

For the tomato sauce
~3/4 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 long hot chili pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar

For the spiced yogurt
1.5 - 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
Generous amount of paprika or combination of regular and hot paprika (I used about a Tbsp of regular plus a few extra shakes)
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
2 tsp sumac (or to taste)
` Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp pine nuts

1) Turn on the broiler. Separate the pitas into two halves (open the pita, not cut it in half) and rip it into large chunks.  Place under the broiler and watch carefully for them to brown a little.  This takes less than 2 minutes.  The pitas should be crunchy, not on fire.  If your pitas are huge, do it in batches so they broil on a single layer.  I don't place my rack on the closest level to the heating element, I do it on the second highest to avoid smoke. 
2) Make the tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan and saute onions until soft.  Then add garlic, the chili pepper, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Stir for a minute.  Add the tomatoes and cook for ~10 minutes or until the tomatoes release their juices.  Then the sauce can be kept warm while the kebabs cook. 
3) Mix the lamb ingredients together.  Form into small sausages.  Broil for about 8 minutes - 4 mins each side.
4) Make the spiced yogurt.  While lamb and sauce are cooking, mix yogurt the yogurt with the paprika and Aleppo pepper.  Heat 1 Tsbp olive oil in a small sauce pan.  Add the sumac.  When it sizzles, add pine nuts and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add this to the yogurt and mix it very well. 
5) To serve, place pita chips on a plate and sprinkle with a little sumac if you want.  Top them with tomato sauce.  Then, drizzle as much yogurt over that as you want.   Place the sausages on top. 


Michelle said...


David said...

I highly recommend this dish, it is one of my favorites. It is super tasty and, with the nonfat yogurt, pretty healthy as well. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using THIN pita bread and toasting it so that it is crispy.


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