Turks-mex pork koftas with sweet-and-sour onion petals and brava less potatoes

Lamb mince is the preferred meat for koftas but as a pork enthusiast, I thought I’d make these boundary-less koftas with pork mince instead.There are countless variations around the globe, but they’re all based around a fatty, juicy, unctuous piece of meat on a skewer and a set of condiments that are ideally matched to it, as well as to each other.
 This version is Tex-mex which has been tweaked to the Turkish palate,Turks-mex  I call it. Pork is healthier, leaner yet equally as delicious. Spiced with cumin, cinnamon, all spice, black pepper and cayenne, these plagiarised koftas are not falling short when it comes to flavour. Garlic and the crucial herbs, aromatic mint,peppery parsley and crushed coriander bring these koftas to life. The infusion of the dried thyme, chilli flakes and lime zest are what make this dish so special. But what would you serve them with? Some sweet and sour Ottolenghi onion petals, swimming in a tart pomegranate syrup.They are a perfect companion to grilled meats, because they cut through the fattiness like a knife.You could serve some creamy guacamole for dipping on the side,but I opted for some roasted red potatoes with an aioli sauce,omitting the spicy tomato sauce that would have made them bravas.
 I wanted to do it without frying them.  Of course, I am not saying you cant fry them, but I try to avoid it when possible (except with the croquettes, there is just no way around that one).  I used a trick to make these potatoes really crispy even though they are baked –  Baking soda!  Its magic.  First you give the potatoes a quick par boil in water with baking soda, then you bake them.  The baking soda breaks down the cells of the potato which creates more surface area, so they almost make their own coating that gets them extra  crisp in the oven. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for that little gem.
Turks-mex style pork koftas 
makes 8 kofta kebabs
500g Pork Mince
2 Garlic Cloves, minced

50g breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, Finely Chopped 

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
½ Teaspoon Ground Allspice 
1 teaspoon pul beber, Aleppo chilli flakes
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin,
1 Teaspoon cayenne

1 Teaspoon turmeric
finely grated zest 1 lime
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1tsp dried thyme
1½ Teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1½ tsp seasoned Flor de sal

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Soak your wooden skewers in cold water for at least 15 minutes.
Set your oven to 180c and a line a baking tray with tin foil. Smear a tablespoon of oil over the foil to help prevent the koftas from sticking to the bottom.
Place everything in a large bowl, and get your hands in there only if they are clean and begin to mix all of it up, making sure all those spices get over all the mixture.
Once thoroughly combined, roll up 8 equal balls. Begin to roll them between your palms into a cigar shape once you have the shape stick the skewer through the middle. Continue 
till they are all done. They roughly come out about 4 inches long. shape into fingers or patties and carefully place them on the oiled baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

Ottolenghi Sweet-and-sour onion petals

500g golf-ball-sized red onions (about 12), peeled and halved lengthways
75ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
400ml 100% pomegranate juice
3-4 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 220C /425F/gas 7. In a large bowl, toss the onions with two tablespoons of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until softened and charred, then leave to cool.
While the onions are roasting, bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Turn down the heat, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 70ml and is the consistency of a loose maple syrup. Leave to cool; it will thicken as it sits. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the chives with the remaining 45ml oil and a good pinch of salt.
Pour the pomegranate syrup on to a large platter with a lip, and swirl it around to cover most of the plate. Use your hands loosely to separate the onions into individual petals, then scatter them haphazardly over the syrup. Spoon over the chive oil and serve with the grilled kebab.


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