So, how are we all doing with winter? Hanging in there? Our winter has been pretty mild, but I am still getting that ache for brighter, longer days. I self-medicate with flavors that come from sunny climes, making foods I associate with summertime. Lately, it’s Chelo Kebab. These are super-quick to make, freeze easily, are budget friendly, and most importantly, seriously delicious. We buy ground beef every week, and this is one of those things that I can whip up quickly when I don’t know what else to make. A few condiments, olives and some cauliflower rice round out the meal easily, and we’re all happy.
Chelo Kebab Recipe
This recipe is an adaptation from Ariana Bundy’s recipe from her gorgeous cookbook, Pomegranates & Roses. And I will just go ahead and tell you right now that you should double the recipe because these are great as leftovers for lunch!
What You’ll Need
- 1 medium onion, skinned and cut into quarters
- 1 lb (500g) fatty ground beef or lamb (I usually ask my butcher to give me a blend of 75% beef, 25% lamb)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- a generous pinch of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper
- 1 tsp dried mint
- chopped fresh herbs like coriander (cilantro) or parsley to garnish, optional
- lemon wedges to garnish, optional
- Equipment: You will want to use a food processor for this recipe (it’s possible to make it without, just a lot more work) and a rimmed baking sheet.
What to Do
- Put the onion into the food processor and let it chop it up fine. Gather the onions to one side of the workbowl and use a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel to press as much liquid out as you can.
- Add the meat, salt, spices and baking powder, and process for about 30 seconds to one minute. You want the meat to be smooth and well-blended. This might seem weird, but it works!
- Form the meat into kebabs. It will be sticky, and if you want you can dip your fingers into a bowl of cold water between kebabs to make them less sticky. You can either put them on kebab skewers, or just form them into a long sausage shape and place them on the baking sheet. (The authentic way to form them is to make them much thinner and longer than the ones you see here. I do them like this because it’s much easier, logistically.) If you have more than you need, or are cooking ahead, you can put them on an extra baking sheet to flash freeze.
- Cook them under the broiler under full heat. This will be very quick, about 3-4 minutes on each side. You’ll know they’re done when they start to brown a bit and smell ridiculously good. For the ones that you have frozen, bake straight from the freezer at 450 F for 8-10 minutes on each side.
- Garnish the chelo kebabs with fresh herbs and lemon wedges, and serve with cucumber yogurt salad and rice (we do cauliflower rice.)
Cucumber Yogurt Salad
This is a really simple, adaptable salad that’s light and refreshing.
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1/2 t salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs– one or any combination of the following: dill, mint, coriander (cilantro) parsley or oregano
- 1 T good extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- Half of an English cucumber, chopped into fine dice.
What to Do
- Combine everything except for the cucumbers into a bowl, and whisk together until the olive oil is fully incorporated. Taste and see if this dressings needs more salt or lemon juice.
- Stir in the diced cucumber and garnish with fresh herbs, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Enjoy! We eat this as a salad itself, or as a dip or condiment.
This is a family favorite that we make all of the time. I hope you will enjoy it, too!