Recipe: Spicy beef kebabs

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Recipe: Spicy beef kebabs

Dietitian's tip: This inventive dish combines lean ground beef, spices and garlic with bulgur for a zesty kebab with a tangy sauce. For an appetizer, shape the mix into meatballs, saute lightly and serve with cocktail picks.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups fine-grind bulgur
  • 1 1/2 pounds very lean ground (minced) beef
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers

For the sauce

  • 2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)

Directions

Place the onions in a blender or food processor and process to puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup measuring pitcher, pressing firmly with a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the juice. Discard the solids. Add the lemon juice and enough water to measure 1 1/2 cups liquid. In a large bowl, combine the onion juice mixture and the bulgur and soak for 10 minutes. Add the beef, pine nuts, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper to the bulgur and stir to mix well.

Using a little less than 1/3 cup for each kebab, form the beef mixture into 16 sausage links, each about 4 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter. Thread onto the skewers. If the mixture is too crumbly, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until it holds together. Cover the prepared skewers and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler (grill). Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest, mustard and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate.

Place the kebabs on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil the kebabs, turning as needed, until evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Drizzle with the yogurt sauce and garnish with the cilantro.

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