Barbecued Venison Kofta Skewers with Homemade Flatbreads
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a main course and makes about 12 small flatbreads (3 flatbreads per serving)
Venison is available all year round. I think it’s a pretty tasty lean meat, but because it is so lean, I add a bit of pork mince to this venison kofta mixture to add a bit of fat. Because these koftas are cooked over the direct heat of a barbecue they can dry out easily, so the fat from the pork provides enough moisture and gives the koftas a softer texture too (plain venison can be quite firm and a little rubbery to eat on its own).
These barbecued skewers are delicious and fun. I serve mine with homemade flatbreads and a Cucumber Yogurt Salad. The flatbreads are very easy and surprisingly quick to make. This recipe makes about 12 small flatbreads, but they are small and thin so I serve 3 per serving. Alternatively, you can simply buy ready-made flatbreads from the supermarket, if you prefer.
Ingredients & Method
For the flatbreads
- 8g fresh yeast or 4g dried active yeast (don’t use fast-action dried yeast)
- 100ml tepid water
- 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the venison kofta skewers
- 1 thick slice of white bread, crusts removed
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 500g minced venison
- 140g minced pork
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Cucumber Yogurt Salad, to serve
Preheat the barbecue to medium-hot (if you have a thermometer attached to your barbecue as I have, then preheat it to about 200°C).
To make the flatbread dough, mix the yeast with the tepid water in a small bowl, then cover with cling film and leave to stand for about 10 minutes or until a light frothy foam forms on the surface.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, yogurt, oil and salt together, then make a well in the centre and gradually add the yeast mixture, mixing well to form a dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes or until silky smooth, soft and elastic, then knead it into a smooth ball. Lightly grease a deep bowl and place the dough ball in the bowl, then cover with a clean dry tea towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. The rising time will depend on the room temperature, but it can take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour (however, as this is a small amount of dough it will take less time than you may anticipate). In the winter, the dough usually takes twice as long to rise.
Meanwhile, make the venison kofta mixture. Soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes, then drain the soaked bread, squeezing out the excess milk (discard the leftover milk). Place the minced venison and pork in a mixing bowl, then add the soaked bread, along with the mustard, onion, garlic, all the spices and the sesame seeds, then season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together well, then divide and shape the meat mixture into 16 even-sized balls. Place the balls on a plate or tray, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes (this helps the meat to rest and become firmer).
Thread the kofta balls onto 4 metal skewers, threading 4 onto each skewer (you can use wooden skewers, if you prefer, but remember to soak them in water for an hour before use). Return the skewers to the fridge while you finish making the flatbreads.
Lightly grease 2 large baking trays with oil. Once the flatbread dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, knock it back, and then divide the dough into 12 even portions, shaping each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough to make a round shape, about 2–3mm thick.
Transfer the flatbreads to the prepared baking trays; lightly cover with clean dry tea towels and leave to rise again (prove) in a warm place for 5–10 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, cook the skewers over a medium-hot barbecue for 15–18 minutes or until the koftas are cooked through and nicely browned with grill/bar marks on the balls. Turn them regularly during cooking to ensure even colouring all over. Transfer the cooked koftas to a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm. Set them aside to rest while you cook the flatbreads.
Place the flatbreads over the barbecue (you may need to cook them in a couple of batches, depending on the size of your barbecue – I can cook 6 at a time on our barbecue) and cook them for about 1½ minutes on each side or until they are puffed up, pale golden all over with darker grill/bar marks and cooked all the way through (the cooked flatbreads will sound hollow when tapped). You may need to reduce the cooking time a little, depending on the barbecue temperature and thickness of your flatbreads. Transfer to a wire rack, then cook the rest of the flatbreads in the same way.
Serve the hot venison koftas with the warm flatbreads and the Cucumber Yogurt Salad alongside. I prefer to serve the koftas, flatbreads and salad in separate dishes and just let everyone help themselves. Try spooning some of the cucumber yogurt salad over the hot kofta skewers – it’s delicious served this way and I can recommend it!
To cook the skewers in the oven (instead of barbecuing them), preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Prepare the skewers as above, then place them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15–18 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned.
To cook the flatbreads using a ridged griddle pan, heat the griddle pan over a high heat until hot, then cook the flatbreads (in batches) for about 1½ minutes on each side, turning regularly, until they are pale golden all over with darker griddle marks and cooked all the way through.