Beef Kofta Kabobs, Tzatziki, Tabouli Salad, and Vegetables in Foil

by Kelly on August 13, 2009

This menu is best suited for a weekend or other day off work as you will need to start the kofta and tabouli a few hours before serving. I love to make this on a Sunday and then have leftover tabouli salad for lunch the next day with pita. A food processor will cut down on the prep time immensely, especially for chopping the parsley. A special thanks to my aunt-in-law, Holly Fortier, for her fabulous tabouli salad recipe. It has become one of our favorite dishes.

Beef Kofta Kebabs
adapted from Food Network Kitchens Cookbook

Serves 4

4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 lb (450 g) ground beef chuck or lamb
3 tablespoons grated onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for brushing the grill

Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste (or crush in a mortar and pestle). Mix the paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt with the meat, onion, parsley, and spices.

Divide the meat mixture into 6 rough balls. Mold each piece around the pointed end of a skewer (if you use wooden ones, soak them in water for 15 minutes before threading them), making a 6-inch oval kebab that comes to a point just covering the tip of the skewer. Lay the skewers on the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill pan over a medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with tzatziki and pita.

***

Tzatziki

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (600 ml)

4 cups (960 ml) plain yogurt (whole milk preferably) or 2 cups(480 ml) Greek-style yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

If using regular yogurt, line a colander with cheesecloth. Put the yogurt in it, set it over a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Discard the expressed liquid and put the yogurt in the bowl. This will create a Greek-style yogurt.

Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater into another bowl. Using a rasp or other fine grater, grate the garlic into the cucumber. Alternatively, make a paste of the garlic by smashing the garlic, sprinkling with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mashing the mixture to a coarse paste (or crush in a mortar and pestle). Stir the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper into the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

***

Holly’s Tabouli

Serves 8

1 cup (190 g) bulghar wheat
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon and/or lime juice
1 teaspoon crushed, fresh garlic
1/2 cup (20 g) chopped scallions (include greens)
1/4 cup (60 ml) good olive oil
1 cup, packed (20 g) freshly chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 14 oz (400 g) can garbanzo beans, drained
feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish, about 1/2 cup (60 g)
Kalamata olives, for garnish, about 1/2 cup (225 g)

Combine the bulghar, boiling water, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes or until the bulghar is chewable and the water is mostly absorbed.

Add the lemon juice, garlic, scallions, olive oil, parsley, and black pepper and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Just before serving, add the tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Garnish with feta and black olives.

***

Vegetables in Foil

Serves 6

We throw vegetables on the grill all summer long in foil packets. It’s quick and cleaning up is a breeze. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables. Mushrooms are an especially nice addition.

1 zucchini
1 summer squash
1 onion
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the outdoor grill.

Cut the zucchini and summer squash lengthwise then slice into half moons (about 1/2 centimeter thick). Peel and slice the onion into thin half moons (about 1/4 centimeter thick). Cut the bell pepper into 1/2 centimeter-wide strips. Place the vegetables onto aluminum foil (preferably heavy-duty foil). You will need enough foil to completely wrap up the vegetables, about 18 inches or so.

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Crimp together the foil over the vegetables, starting with the short sides then folding over the long sides. You will end up with a rectangular-shaped packet. The foil should be secure enough to remain closed throughout the grilling process.

Place the foil packet on the grill and cook over indirect heat for about 10 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the vegetable slices and the heat of the grill). If vegetables are not tender, reclose the foil packet and cook for a few more minutes.

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