Friday, January 27, 2023
Jan. 27, 2023

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Broiler gives open-fire feel to ground beef kebabs

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This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs w/Tomato-Sumac Sauce.
This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs w/Tomato-Sumac Sauce. (Milk Street via AP) (Milk Street) Photo Gallery

Making kebabs from ground beef presents an opportunity and a problem. They can be boldly flavored by mixing spices and herbs into the meat. But getting them to stay put on skewers is tricky.

So, what if we got rid of the skewers? In this recipe from our book “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” which features weeknight-friendly meals from the region, we instead cook patties of spiced ground beef under the broiler. One side browns deeply as they cook, giving just enough open-fire flavor without the meat tumbling off.

We took inspiration from kebab hindi, which is a Levantine, not Indian, dish. Red onion, fresh cilantro, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice and paprika are mixed into the beef.

Traditionally, the meat is baked in a tomato sauce, but we opted to cook them without the sauce to get more flavorful browning. We then use the same baking sheet to broil tomatoes and onion for relishlike sauce.

Spicy Ground Beef Kebabs With Tomato-Sumac Sauce

Start to finish: 40 minutes. Servings: 4 to 6

1½ pounds 80 percent lean ground beef

1 large red onion, ½ finely chopped, ½ thinly sliced, reserved separately

¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, reserved separately

¼ cup pine nuts, chopped

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1½ teaspoons ground allspice

4 teaspoons hot paprika

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon ground sumac

Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine the beef, chopped onion, cilantro stems, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1½ teaspoons pepper. Using your hands, mix well, then divide into 12 portions and shape each into a patty 2½ to 3 inches in diameter; arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Broil the patties until well browned on top and the centers hit 160 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer to a serving platter and cover with foil. Discard any residual liquid on the baking sheet; set the baking sheet, with foil lining, aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the sliced onion, tomatoes, oil, sumac, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Distribute in a single layer on the baking sheet and broil until the tomatoes burst and the onions char, 5 to 6 minutes.

Using the back of a fork, crush the tomatoes to form a chunky sauce. Add 2 tablespoons water to the baking sheet and stir gently to combine, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the patties. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and drizzle with additional oil.