Kebabs: Supper on a Stick
Thread meat, vegetables, or virtually any food onto a skewer, lay it across a grill grate, and you can enjoy a meal in no time
EXCERPTED FROM Kebabs: 75 Spectacular Recipes for Grilling, by Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh (Harvard Common Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group). Copyright © 2017.
At the beginning of just about every grilling cookbook is a short little story about how humans first learned to make fire, how they then discovered they could cook food over the fire, and how what we call grilling today is a direct descendant of these ancient discoveries. It’s an excellent story. Fire is great. What the stories usually leave out is the first cooking utensil our ancestors used: the stick. The stick holds the food out of the fire. It allows for temperature control, easy handling, finesse, and the artistry of the chef. The stick, or as we now refer to it, the skewer, gives us the kebab, and kebabs are the perfect food.
The kebab is truly the universal dish. Every culture has some variation of them, and they can be found in the fanciest restaurants or served hot from a street corner food cart. As a meal, a snack, an appetizer, a dessert, or a side dish, the kebab is as versatile as pizza and as numerous as the hamburger. Thread meat, vegetables, fruit, or virtually any type of food onto a skewer, throw it over an open flame, and you will be eating within minutes. Ahead, a kebab version of a very popular food combination eaten in the West.
Steak and Potato Kebabs Recipe
MAKES 6 TO 8 KEBABS
Parboil the potatoes before placing them on skewers—that way, the steak and the potatoes cook evenly and at the same rate. Look for tiny potatoes or small fingerlings.
2 pounds sirloin or tri-tip steaks
20 to 22 tiny potatoes, 1 to 1 ½ inches around
6 to 8 skewers
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
1. Parboil the potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on their size. The potatoes should be tender but not mushy. They will finish cooking on the grill. When the potatoes have reached the desired doneness, remove them from the pot and place them into a bowl filled with cold water and ice for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. Remove the potatoes from the ice bath and pat dry. Set aside.
2. Cut the steaks into 1 ¼-inch cubes.
3. Preheat the grill to medium-high. When the grill is ready, oil the grill grates right before putting on the kebabs. Using long-handled tongs, dip some folded paper towels in a high-smoke-point cooking oil and wipe down the grill grates, making at least three good passes to create a nonstick surface.
4. Thread the beef cubes onto the skewers, alternating with the parboiled potatoes. Brush the kebabs with olive oil and mix together the black pepper, salt, and dried marjoram. Season the kebabs well with the mixture.
5. Place the kebabs on the grill. Cook for 4 minutes, gently turn, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the meat has reached the desired doneness and the potatoes are cooked all the way through.
6. Remove the kebabs from the grill and serve.
NOTE: For a vegetarian or vegan option, use mushrooms or seitan instead of beef. Reduce the cooking time by half.