Monday, January 2, 2012

Turkish Kebabs

I consider my husband the authority on kebabs. Coming from a Pakistani background, he LOVES meat and knows a good kebab better than any other. Upon taking his first bite he said "succulent". One simple word that made me blush... on his second bite he raved about how the meat was perfectly charred yet remained juicy and tender (apparently this is a hard act to master when it comes to kebabs). I watched in delight as he scooped up pieces of beef that he meticulously dipped into the tomato and yogurt sauce with toasted pita. There's nothing that gives me more pleasure than cooking for the people I love and if "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" holds true- he must love me very very very much;)

The sauces that accompany the kebabs balance each other perfectly. The fresh tomato sauce that's cooked simply in olive oil mixes effortlessly with the yogurt sauce that has lovely notes of garlic and lemon. Let me tell you boys and girls, this was a perfect dinner!

2 pounds ground beef or lamb
1.5 cups old (not moldy, just dry) baguette
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
5 cloves garlic, pounded or finely chopped
1 spanish onion, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley (stems as well) plus 1 tablespoon for garnishing
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
a dash of pepper

Tomato Sauce:
2 pints baby tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup FULL FAT Greek Yogurt
1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak bread in cold water for about 5-10 seconds. Remove the water and squeeze any excess out from the bread. It should crumble into bread crumbs. Mix all the Kebab ingredients well together with your hands. Let this refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Grab a fistful of the meat and work your way up from the bottom of your skewer to the top. Try to do this swiftly and evenly. Your skewers should be metal as this is troublesome with wooden ones. Heat your grill pan (make sure you brush with oil if it's not non stick). Place the kebabs down gently and turn 90 degrees every two minutes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meat is evenly charred. Top with tomato and yogurt sauce. Finish with fresh parsley.

Tomato Sauce:
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes. Cover and cook on med-low heat for 5 minutes making sure to Gently shake the pan with the lid on every so often to avoid sticking. Remove the lid and press the tomatoes down a little to help their juices release. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper. Let it cook into a nice sauce that's not too thick or runny (should take about 10-15 minutes).

Yogurt Sauce:
Mix the yogurt, garlic, salt and lemon juice well. That's it!

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