LAMB & SHALLOT KEBABS WITH POMEGRANATE MOLASSES
A specialty of the Imam Cagdas restaurant in Gaziantep, Turkey, this simple kebab is made with a small, red-skinned onion that looks like the familiar shallot. I've used both shallots and pearl onions with equal success. One unexpected touch: After grilling, the lamb and onions and a few drew drops of pomegranate molasses are placed in a covered dish for a few minutes. This steams the onions, imparting an incredible sweet-sour flavor to the meat.
Makes 8 kebabs with about 1 1/2 cups sauce. Serves 8 as an appetizer, 4 as an entrée.
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1 pound ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
20 large shallots or pearl onions
Pita breads, for serving
2 to 3 teaspoons Pomegranate Molasses (recipe follows)
8 to 10 pomegranates (or 4 cups unsweetened juice)
1/4 cup sugar
|1.||Preheat the grill to high.|
|2.||Combine the lamb, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Knead and squeeze the mixture with your hands until thoroughly blended, 3 to 4 minutes. To test the mixture for seasoning, sauté a small amount of it in a nonstick skillet until cooked through, then taste, adding salt, cumin, or pepper to the remaining mixture as necessary.|
|3.||Peel the shallots and cut each lengthwise in half. Starting on the round sides, thread 5 shallot halves onto each skewer, leaving about 1 inch between each.|
|4.||Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Divide the meat mixture into 32 equal portions. Lightly wet your hands with cold water, then take on portion of the meat and mold it around a skewer, between 2 shallot halves, making it as much as possible the same size. Repeat with the remaining portions of meat so each skewer contains 5 shallot halves alternating with 4 portions of meat. Place each kebab as it is made on the prepared baking sheet (see Note). |
|5.||When ready to cook, generously oil the grate. Arrange the kebabs directly on the hot grate. Grill, turning with tongs, until the shallots are nicely browned and soft and the meat is browned as well and cooked through, abut 12 minutes in all.|
|6.||Use a pita to protect your hand as you slide the meat and shallot off their skewers into a serving bowl. Toss with the Pomegranate Molasses, cover, and let stand for 3 minutes. Divide the meat and shallot among serving plates and serve immediately, accompanied by the pita.|
|Note: If not planning to cook immediately, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.|
|Order grilled meats or seafood in eastern Turkey, the Republics of Georgia or Armenia, or pretty much anywhere in Central Asia, and you'll
be served an explosively flavorful, sweet-sour condiment that looks like liquid tar. Often it's drizzled on the food before it is served, as well. Known locally as narshrab,
and as pomegranate molasses in the West, it consists of fresh pomegranate juice boiled down to a thick, perfumed syrup. A few drops drizzled over chops or kebabs have an amazing way
of bringing out the flavor of grilled meats.|
|1.||Cut the pomegranates in half; juice them on citrus reamer. You should have 4 cups. Strain the juice into a large, wide, heavy saucepan and add the sugar.|
|2.||Bring the juice to a boil, reduce the heat and cook the pomegranate juice at a brisk simmer until dark, thick, syrupy, and reduced by two-thirds, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pomegranate syrup to a sterile bottle or jar. It will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.|
Excerpted from THE BARBECUE! BIBLE copyright © 1998 Steven Raichlen.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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