Shish kebabs and pilaf

Now that the unofficial start of summer has come and gone, it’s time to drag out the charcoal and light up the grill. Shish kebabs are one of my favorite things to grill, they’re easy to prepare and are perfect for feeding crowds. The key to flavorful, juicy morsels of meat is in the marinating, the longer the better. I love to serve these kebabs with a Chermoula pilaf, which has a flavor profile often seen in Moroccan or Tunisian cuisine, with cinnamon, crushed red pepper, raisins, almonds and tomatoes. — Andrew Zimmern

Shish kebabs are a fun way to get your family to try new veggies! Have your children participate by either helping kebab (if old enough) or by helping pick out which meat/veggie to put on the skewer next. Experimenting with herbs and spices is a also a great way to add flavor to your foods while at the same time reducing or eliminating added salt. Did you know? Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans and are the key ingredient in hummus. They are great source of protein and fiber! — The clinical dietitian team at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Photo by Madeleine Hill


Serves 6 to 8

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min, plus overnight marinating

Shish kebabs

1 pound cubed top sirloin, 1-inch cubes

1 pound cubed pork loin, ¾ inch cubes

1 red bell pepper

1 green pepper

1 large red onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

8 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons minced parsley

Lightly toast the garlic, herbs and spices in a small pan over medium heat. When aromatic, pull from heat and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Take spice paste and combine with the oil and lemon juice.

Divide the marinade into two Ziploc bags. Place the pork cubes into one, the beef in another and toss meats well. Squeeze air out of the bags, seal and marinate overnight.

Cut the peppers and onions into small cubes (about one-inch squares).

Skewer the meat, alternating between the beef and pork cubes, the onions and peppers.

When finished skewering, season with salt and pepper and grill over high direct heat for a total of about 10 minutes, or roughly 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Your goal is to have the beef be medium rare and the pork medium (the difference in cube size helps this process).

Serve with a yogurt sauce, seasoned with mint, lime, garlic and cumin, and rice pilaf.

Yogurt sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon cumin

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Chermoula pilaf

1 teaspoon saffron threads revived in 3 tablespoons warm water

2 cups basmati rice

½ cup minced parsley

½ cup raisins

½ cup toasted almond slices

One 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 ounces canned chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup olive oil

1 minced onion

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

3 cups chicken stock

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Place the oil in a 2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil is aromatic, add the rice, raisins, almonds, red pepper, chickpeas, cinnamon and onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, saffron in water, parsley and lemon zest. Stir. Add the stock, bring to simmer. Cover and lower heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice rest covered. Stir, season and serve.


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