T is for Turkey: Shish Kebabs & Vegan Pinto Beans

Marinated beef makes for a really tasty shish kebab

Marinated beef makes for a really tasty shish kebab

This week in Cooking Around the World, I’m excited to feature Turkey.  While there are, of course, many types of food that are common in Turkish cuisine, the most well known is the kebab.  Even within the realm of kebabs, there are multiple types.  From ground meats formed around a skewer to large cuts that are cooked similar to a rotisserie and then shaved off and served in a tortilla, I faced many options.  In my attempt to recreate the most quintessential dishes, though, I opted for the classic shish kebab.

Shish kebabs, before I gave up on grilling them

Shish kebabs, before I gave up on grilling them

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are at least familiar with the concept of shish kebab: meat and veggies on a stick cooked on a grill.  As such, recipes for shish kebabs abounded online, with suggestions ranging from soy-sauce marinades to all American BBQ sauce.  Like I said, though, I wanted a Turkish recipe.  The version I finally settled on was a huge success.  The lemon juice provided just a bit of acidity, and really enhanced the flavors of the paprika and cumin.  It complimented the beef very well, lending a distinct brightness to the meat without overpowering its natural flavor.  And since they were cooked together, the peppers and onions really picked up the taste of the marinade as well.  (Full disclosure, I gave up on trying to grill them.  My griddler wasn’t working so hot (ba’dum tss) and it was late so I took it all off of the sticks and sauted it instead.  We’ll pretend it’s legit.)

I didn’t want to serve just meat with a few veggies, though.  Thus, I made pinto beans as an accompaniment.  The original recipe compared them to American baked beans, only served cold.  While I wouldn’t say they taste like baked beans, I do understand what they meant; the texture was similar, and this really would be an ideal side dish for a barbeque.  Moreover, it’s a make ahead dish, which is something that always makes me do a little happy dance.  Anyway, the pinto beans were delicious.  As I said, the texture of the beans was soft, but the carrots lent a satisfying crunch.  They were mildly sweet, and really rounded out the meal.

Turkish Shish Kebabs
Adapted from http://www.turkishfoodandrecipes.com/2009/01/shish-kebab-sis-kebap.html

Turkish shish kebabs, with beef, peppers, and onions

Turkish shish kebabs, with beef, peppers, and onions

Ingredients

  • ¾ – 1 lb London Broil, cubed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks

Directions

  1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, cumin, and paprika in a large bowl. Add the meat, and stir to coat. Marinate the meat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. After the meat has marinated, thread the beef, peppers, and onions onto skewers.
  3. Grill the kebabs over medium high heat, rotating occasionally, until the beef is browned on all sides and cooked through.

Turkish Pinto Beans
Adapted from http://turkishfood.about.com/od/BeansRiceGrains/r/Turkish-Style-Pinto-Beans-In-Olive-Oil.htm

The Turkish equivalent of baked beans, these pinto beans are cooked with carrots and tomatoes

The Turkish equivalent of baked beans, these pinto beans are cooked with carrots and tomatoes

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent, then add the garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes (with its juices), tomato paste, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer until much of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pinto beans and cook for about 10 minutes more.
  4. Serve chilled.
Gluten free Turkish Shish Kebabs, with gluten free and vegan pinto beans

Gluten free Turkish Shish Kebabs, with gluten free and vegan pinto beans

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