Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Mmmmm Kefta Kebob. I first discovered this dish going to Reza's Restaurant in Chicago. My brother and I were always big fans of the "Sultani Platter": Seasoned Ground Beef Kabob and a Thin Cut of Filet Mignon Kabob. After numerous trips to the restaurant and countless times of ordering the same meal, we both realized that the Filet Mignon Kebob, was really a waste of our time. It was not the filet we were after, it was the ground beef kebob. So we started ordering the "Koubideh Kebob": a seasoned ground beef kebob. Whether you call it "Koubideh" like the Persians or "Kefta" like the Iranians and Lebanese, it is a wonderful treat.
There are many different recipes, however they all share a few signature ingredients: beef, parsley, onions and sumac. The best flavor comes from chargrilling the kebobs, unfortunately it is winter here in Chicago and the only option I have is my oven. The flavors still come out really delicious and other than the char markings from the grill, they get nicely caramelized.
Onto the rice...It sounds easy...but it's not. Many a times have I messed it up. Instead of getting perfect, individual rice grains...I ended up with mushy rice pudding. The problem: improper measuring. I added more liquid than necessary and ended up with a basmati mush. I tried to cover it up with dill and it somewhat helped distract the eye, but once I put in my mouth, there was no covering up the disaster. I had messed up rice! RICE! One of the basic components in most middle eastern cultures...a dish that 10 year old girls can make...I had FAILED at! And much to my disappointment I had no more Basmati rice left! NONE! With 13 different things cooking on the stove, I was not about to run out to Trader Joe's and get more. Plus I hate wasting food, so I used it. Fortunately, my fiance could not tell the difference! Yeay for me!
I recalled my birthday party 2 years ago where I made a huge Middle Eastern feast. I remember that my Basmati Dill rice was perfect, in fact I remember everyone asking me if "Reza's Restaurant" had catered it. So clearly I was capable of making a perfect Basmati Rice. I found the recipe I used last time and I swear by the end of this week...I will make perfect Basmati Rice...
2 Lb. Ground Beef 15% fat
2 Handfuls parsley
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sumac
1 tsp. 7 spices
1. In a food processor, shred parsley and onion together until it is smooth.
2. Add to ground beef along with all spices.
3. Shape meat with hands into sausage like shape.
4. Place in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
5. Serve with rice and sprinkle with sumac.