For tonight's dinner, we'll rely on our senses. Our hands will do most of the work, picking up a tool or two along the way to muddle a sauce and grill our meat. The biftekia, a cross between kebabs and hamburgers, encourages us to play with our food to form purposefully imperfect patties to our liking. The wedged Yukon Golds are carefully arranged, coated in a good amount of oil and salt and left cut-side down to crisp in a hot oven. We won't pay much mind to time -- instead, we'll rely on the deep mahogony color of the potatoes to tell us they're done. And when dinner is ready, we won't even need to call for our friends and family -- the sheer smell will bring them to the table.
Serves 2 to 3, with leftover potatoes
3 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
2 teaspoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos (you can also use soy or tamari)
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 teaspoons capers
3/4 pound ground lamb
2 onions (regular or sweet)
5 pounds small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
We're assuming you have garlic, sugar, apple cider vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
1. Heat the oven to 375° F.
2. Prep the potatoes: Wash and cut them into wedges from pole to pole (cut in half and half again, but do not peel). Pour a generous swirl of olive oil into several roasting pans (the number of pans needed will vary depending on the size of both the pans and the potatoes, but 2 to 3 pans should work for 5 pounds of potatoes). One by one, put the potato quarters cut side-down in the pans. Rotate each wedge so all sides are coated with the oil, and then roast for about an hour. (Do not turn the wedges or shake the pan! Check the potatoes for a deep mahogany color after one hour.)
3. Make the Sauce: While the potatoes are roasting, combine the following in a mortar or in the bowl of a food processor: 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos, 2 teaspoons capers, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons hot water, 2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup fresh mint, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, the juice of one lemon, 3 anchovy fillets, and 1 clove garlic. Crush with a pestle or pulse in the food processor until it forms a thick paste.
4. Form the Biftekia: Dice two onions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the diced onion and set the rest aside. Combine the ground lamb with the 1/4 cup onion, along with 1 minced clove of garlic, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley. Portion the mixture into six logs, wrapping the meat around six bamboo skewers.
5. Grill the Biftekia: Grill the skewers for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 minutes or until firm. (If you're using a flame grill, soak the bamboo skewers in water before forming the biftekia.) You can also cook the biftekia under a broiler; just watch closely to not overcook. Cover with foil until you're ready to serve.
6. Finish the Potatoes: Once the potatoes have crisped nicely, remove them from the oven and immediately blanket them with the rest of the diced onions, the juice of a lemon, and a good amount of salt. Taste for seasoning after a couple of minutes, as the potatoes will continue to cook with the onions. Uncover the biftekia and serve immediately with the roasted potatoes and anchovy sauce.
Lamb biftekia photo by Mark Weinberg; Mahogany potatoes photo by Nicole Franzen