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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Middle Eastern Spiced Kabobs

As food lovers, my husband and I were in hog heaven while living in the DC area. There were so many restaurants to choose from! We could eat at a different place every time we wanted to eat out and never double up unless we really wanted to. And the types of food available? Endless. So many different ethnic foods to choose from: Afghan, Indian, Greek, Peruvian, Thai, African... you name it! And that's not including the standard Italian, Mexican, and Chinese. Middle Eastern fare became one of our favorites. We ate a lot of kabobs last year!

Imagine our dismay, then, when moving to the suburbs of Chicago, we found that the vast majority of the restaurants around here fit into three categories: pizza, hot dogs, and Italian. Harrumph. I think I may have seen an Indian place the other day, but I was quite a bit out of our local area. Needless to say, we're craving some kabobs! What can you do but make your own? Fortunately, they're pretty easy. Once I got a seasoning that I liked, it was all cake.

You can use just about any kind of meat you'd like for these kabobs. I've mostly used beef, but lamb would be fabulous, as would chicken. Whatever type of meat you use, make sure you use a good cut. Nobody wants to gnaw on a tough piece of kabob!

The first step is to prepare the fresh ingredients. Mince a bunch of onion, garlic, and fresh parsley. Stir together and put in a medium sized bowl.

Next, you need to put together your spice mixture. This is a decent sized list of all dried spices that you can then store and use as needed. You'll only need four teaspoons of the mixture for this recipe. Save the rest for next time. I just love the smell of this mixture. Makes me salivate thinking about it!

Lastly, cube your meat and mix it all together. I like my meat in roughly one inch cubes. That way they're big enough to get some nice color on the outside without overcooking the inside. Here I've used sirloin beef. It was nice and tender and was cooked to about medium by the time it was all said and done.

The most important part of this recipe is how they are cooked. It's imperative that these are cooked outside on a grill. That's the only way to get that great, smoky flavor that makes these so delicious. Skewer them up and cook over a hot fire to get a good sear on them. Delicious!

Middle Eastern Spiced Kabobs
Yield: seasons up to 2 lbs of meat

1 1/2 - 2 pounds tender beef, lamb, or chicken cut in 1" cubes

1 TBS finely minced garlic
1 TBS minced fresh parsley
1 TBS very finely minced onion

4 tsp of spice mix (see below)
1 TBS olive oil
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let meat sit, covered and refrigerated, for 2 to 12 hours. Skewer and grill over high heat. Use a tender cut of meat and cook medium-rare to medium.

Spice Mixture:
1 TBS ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger

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