Like most everyone I know, I sometimes feel absolutely uninspired when it comes to meal prep and dinnertime. Cereal anyone? Besides flipping through cooking magazines and cookbooks, I often find that wandering through a spice shop or even just the spice aisle in the grocery store will spark some new dinner ideas. This month is all about the Harvest Package and I was once again putting the meat grinder through its paces and wanting a different take on a ground meat patty. I’d done meatballs, burgers, sausage, and was rather at a loss for something new when pursuing the spices at World Market I remembered that kebabs can also utilize ground meat; a glorified tasty treat on a stick!
I wanted a big punch of flavor in my kebabs and Madras curry powder came to the rescue. This type of curry powder is a bit spicier than regular curry powder and I knew I would need something to balance it out. Yogurt, cucumber and mint are excellent ingredients to cool down spicy dishes and were easily turned into an accompanying sauce. This recipe is especially perfect for summer since the kebabs cook quickly and won’t heat up the house. You can also cook the kebabs on the grill.
The sauce comes together with minimal effort and is best made at least a few hours in advance, that way all the flavors have time to marry together. The specification of only 3 mint leaves might seem a little strange, but I find mint to be a very strong herb and a little goes a long way.
Moving on to the kebabs themselves, we should first talk about the meat. I used beef for this recipe, but the spices would also pair well with lamb or goat. When using the meat grinder, it is best to cube all your meat, spread it out on a half sheet pan and place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes, along with the metal components of the grinder. Having everything extremely cold helps the final texture by preventing gummy or mushy meat.
I tried various cuts and combos of beef and fillers vs. no fillers with these kebabs. The winning meat turned out to be just plain chuck roast. Bread crumbs and a little yogurt helped keep the kebabs quite juicy and didn’t compete with the flavor of the spices.
Once the kebab mixture is made, a kitchen scale will come in handy to portion them out. If not, just eyeball 18 portions. If you are cooking on the grill, slide the skewers into the raw kebabs. If you are cooking in a pan, wait until they are cooked before sliding the skewers in. **If using wooden skewers on the grill, remember to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using!!**
These kebabs are excellent as a heavy appetizer, lunch or dinner. I hope you enjoy and let us know if you have any questions.
Spiced Beef Kebabs with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
2 pounds trimmed and cubed chuck roast
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs*
1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. Madras curry powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
Yogurt Cucumber Sauce:
1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
3/4 cup finely chopped English cucumber
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 large mint leaves, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Optional accompaniments: pita bread, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, fresh parsley
Place the cubed meat and metal components of the meat grinder in the freezer for 30 minutes.
While the meat chills, gather the rest of the ingredients and make the yogurt sauce. For the yogurt sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 8 hours in advance.
Once the meat has chilled, attach the meat grinder with the medium sized grinding disc to the Ankarsrum base. See here for more detailed instructions if needed. Place a large bowl underneath to catch the freshly ground meat. Turn the speed to the highest setting and use the plunger to feed the cubed meat through the grinder.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, spices and salt. Add this, along with the breadcrumbs, to the ground meat. Mix until just combined, making sure to not overmix. Overmixing will cause the meat to become tight and almost rubbery in texture.
Divide into 2 ounce portions and shape into 5-6 inch logs. If grilling, carefully slide skewers through the kebabs. Grill approximately 3-4 minutes per side over a medium heat on the grill.
If cooking indoors, preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Do not skewer kebabs yet. Cook kebabs 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Depending on the size of your skillet, you will need to cook the kebabs in 2-3 batches. Transfer to a paper towel lined tray and let cool slightly. Slide skewers into cooked kebabs.
Serve the kebabs immediately with the yogurt cucumber sauce and optional accompaniments if desired.
Yield: 18 kebabs
*Gluten free or whole wheat breadcrumbs can be used in place of the regular breadcrumbs