kebabs and leftover orzo

With the weather being as beautifully mild as it has been here in Chicago, I was planning on putting some skewers together to grill on the roof. But work has been continuing to wreak havoc on my schedule. And so, when I got home, I didn’t really feel like grilling anymore. And I certainly didn’t want to deal with skewering things. I mean, you’re just going to pull it all off the skewer before you eat it, anyway.

Not-a-kebabs Recipe:

1. Cut it: I was watching an episode of Mad Hungry where she sliced up a sirloin and used that for kebabs. It seems unnecessarily extravagant. For my kebabs, I like to use chuck steak. 1 pound. It’s a cheap cut of meat, which I think is the point of kebabs.

chuck steaks

With a chuck steak, on the other hand, there are a lot of ribbons of fat and gristle. This is fine to just leave in as is if you’re going to slow cook it or braise it. But, for kebabs, you need to separate the meat from the other stuff. A lot of times, you can separate it all apart with just your fingers. Other times, like with the silver skin, you’re going to need a boning knife. What you’re left with is some very nice chunks of meat. Not very pretty by itself, but sliced up into bite sized pieces, it’s perfect.

chunked up chuck (gristle in the back)

2. Chop it: I chopped up 1 orange pepper, half a red pepper (which was left over from the night before), and 8 oz of white button mushrooms. I did this pretty haphazardly and generally so that everything would all be the same size.

3. Cook it: throw it all into a hot skillet. High heat. At the same time. If it were on a skewer, everything would cook for the same amount of time, so I figured I would do the same here.

hot skillet high heat

4. Season it: I threw on some paprika and a ton of pepper. I was going to add some thyme, but I frequently hesitate to add herbs when there’s already a lot of vegetables in a dish. It just seems redundant. My palate is not that sensitive.

Also, the nice thing about cooking this in a skillet, rather than a grill (other than not having to take the time to skewer everything) is that I could season things a little differently. So, I added a couple of big glugs of soy sauce. I love it when soy sauce mixes with meat juice and then thickens a little bit. I suppose that makes this dish more like stir fry at this point than a kebab. But whatever, it was good.

5. Eat it: it’s done once the mushrooms shrink down and look delicious. We ate this with the leftover orzo from the night before. It heated up nicely. And was a natural pairing with the kebabs. The peppers had a little bit of snap but were cooked through. And the meat ended up being about medium well (maybe I should have left the chunks a little bigger).

But because there wasn’t a crunchy element to the dish, I did kind of get palate fatigue – not that it stopped me from eating two huge plates of it though. I really could have used a pita, but we didn’t have any. On the other hand, something creamy would have been nice too, like some tsaziki to dip in to, but I didn’t think of it at the time.


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