I’m going to start this by saying this meal is one of my best yet. It was Sunday afternoon, the first week of NFL was on the Chappell t.v. all day and I wanted to make something for John that would go well with a beer and football while still taking into consideration our seasonal veggies and the 87 degree weather outside…needless to say, this meal was a hit. I am a huge lover of any and all Greek cuisine and whenever we are overwhelmed by cucumbers, a Greek meal is the first to come to mind. Koftas are oval shaped lamb patties eaten in warm pitas and topped with a yummy cucumber/yogurt sauce. And while I LOVE the rich flavor of lamb, I decided to do something a little lighter and less intimidating to most home cooks, ground chicken. But since ground chicken has less fat it easily dries out and is bland, so I added feta cheese for fat and richness and diced onion for flavor and moisture. Right now is a strange time around here because in NC we are still getting plenty of summer veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants, all while our fall veggies are starting like turnips, carrots, potatoes, kale etc. So this meal is a mix of both summer and fall coming together to create something light and rich, tasty and but very simple to make and most importantly (in our house at least) something that goes well with beer and football. So here is MY version (and there are many others out there) of a Greek favorite…
1 lb ground chicken
1 small onion very finely diced (or 1/2 med to large onion)
4-6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
pinch cayenne pepper (more if you like things spicy)
salt and pepper
1. Place everything into a medium sized bowl and gently mix well with your hands or a fork. Do not over work the ground chicken or it will dry out.
2. Once well mixed, pat mixture into one large mound and divide into 4 equal sections.
3. Take each section of the 4 sections and gently pat into 2 oval patties until you have 8 patties of equal size.
4. Heat 3-4 TBSP olive oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Add patties a few at a time to the pan and cook until brown on both sides and cooked through the middle about 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up some of the oil then serve warm on warmed pita bread and topped with sliced tomatoes and the cucumber-Greek yogurt sauce.
Cucumber Greek Yogurt Sauce
1 small to medium cucumber very thinly sliced (if the cucumber is larger cut slices into 1/2 moons)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP fresh mint leaves finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a small to medium bowl, let sit for 15 minutes or so to allow the cucumbers to release some of their liquid into the sauce.
2. Serve as a dip or use on top of the chicken kofta pita sandwiches.
Oven Baked Root Veggie Chips
a combination of various root veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips
**(you could also add some apples though I wouldn’t recommend them dipped in the hummus)**
about 1/4 cup Olive Oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Thinly slice a combination of veggies using a mandolin or the mandolin blade on your food processor to about 1/8 in thick slices.
3. Toss liberally in olive oil and then in a single layer, line 2 baking sheets with the veggie slices
4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes making sure to rotate the pans about 10 minutes in and flipping the chips once they are beginning to crisp up and brown on one side.
**keep a VERY close eye on them…it is a fine line between a crisp chip and a burned one. Everyone’s oven will cook them a little differently so they could take shorter or longer than the estimated time. I throw them in while I am prepping the rest of meal so that I am standing right in front of the oven while they are cooking**
Non-traditional Homemade Hummus
1 15 oz can Garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can Cannelini beans drained and rinsed
1-3 cloves garlic (depending on how garlicky you like hummus)
1 TBSP fresh rosemary
1 TBSP fresh thyme
1-3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
about 1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In your food processor first place garlic cloves and pulse until the garlic is finely chopped.
2. Next add the beans and herbs and pulse until finely chopped.
3. Add lemon juice and then stream in olive oil until smooth and creamy (though you can cut back on some of the oil if you want to save some of the bean liquid or you can substitute up to a few tablespoons of water). Salt and pepper to taste (you can also add more lemon juice at this point).
4. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika.