Category Archives: Meat and Poultry

Rock the Casbah Lamb Kebabs

I love Turkish, Middle Eastern and Asian food, and I love lamb. This dish is spicy but not too hot, and it blends the flavors of several cuisines into one very flavorful, deceptively simple package. You can easily double or triple the amounts for a large group, and the meat mixture keeps well in the ‘fridge for a day or two.

Have a recipe to share? Please do! We have a very easy recipe formatting tool which lets you easily enter ingredients, directions and more. First, you need to email me, asking to be given Author status here. After that, when you are logged in, you’ll have the ability to add a recipe here, like this one. It’s fun and easy, and you can save your recipe as a draft until you’re satisfied with it.

Rock the Casbah Lamb Kebabs
Type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cooking time: 
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Servings: 3-4

Try to find tamarind concentrate; it really “makes” this dish. If your local market doesn’t carry it, just get some online. Amazon has it, and you’ll find many uses for it beyond this recipe. It adds an indefinable sweet/sour tang that enhances Middle Eastern, Indian and Thai dishes.
For the basting sauce:
  • ⅔ c. honey
  • 3 T. tamarind concentrate (stir in jar before measuring)
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • ½ t. ground cardamom
For the kebabs:
  • 1¼ lb. ground lamb
  • ¾ c. chopped onion
  • ½ c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ c. chopped cilantro (I hate cilantro, so I used more parsley)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¾ t. salt
  • ½ t. sweet paprika
  • ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 12 bamboo skewers

  1. About one hour before cooking, place bamboo skewers in a long baking pan with water to cover them. Weight them down with something so they stay submerged. Being wet will keep them from burning too soon on the grill.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix kebab ingredients, using your hands, as though making a meatloaf mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Heat grill or broiler to medium heat.
  6. Using about ⅓ cup of meat mixture in your hand, place a skewer in the middle of it, forming the meat around the skewer like a fat, elongated sausage.
  7. When all skewers are assembled, brush each one with a little olive oil.
  8. Place on grill or broiler pan and begin cooking.
  9. After about 3 minutes, brush each kebab with the sauce mixture.
  10. Grill/broil another couple of minutes on first side; using tongs, turn kebabs over and cook for 2 minutes.
  11. Brush second side with sauce and continue cooking until you see a bit of charring. Your kitchen will probably be getting smoky at this point, so have a window open or your range hood running!
  12. Total cooking time should be no more than about 10 minutes for medium.

You can also used cubed boneless leg of lamb instead of the ground lamb, but the kebabs won’t be as spicy as the ground lamb mixture. I often serve this with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on the side, the Turkish way. Fage Total is the best I’ve had in this country, and it’s available now in most good supermarkets.



What’s cooking for Thanksgiving?

We’re not hosting the holiday feast this year, but I’ll be bringing several dishes to a relative’s home next Thursday. No decisions yet; she has to let me know what kinds of things I should bring.

What is your Thanksgiving plan? Click here for some  fun ideas for easy holiday dishes, from Mark Bittman of the New York Times. I especially want to try the 45-Minute Roast Turkey method. I’ve done this with chicken, and it works great. It’s called spatch-cocking, and it does result in a very tasty bird in a very short amount of time. His popover recipe is very easy and delicious, reminiscent of the Dutch Baby I make on cold winter mornings when we have houseguests. The Dutch Baby is a sweet dish, and the popovers are savory. Same basic batter and method, but if you add savory herbs and bake the batter in a muffin pan instead of a big cast-iron skillet, you get popovers.

If you’d like to share some of your holiday recipes, please let me know and I will “promote” you to Author status here, so you can post in our new Bird Feeder section. And yes, I see the irony of having poultry recipes in a bird-lover community website.

Just send me an email, & I will enable you to post your recipes.


Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs
Type: Main dish
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Servings: 4-6

For the Meatballs
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ pound ground chuck or sirloin (you can use all beef, but the mixture makes it very rich)
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup lingonberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons juice from Quick Pickled Cucumbers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Make the meatballs: Mix breadcrumbs and cream in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion in oil in small skillet until softened. Set aside to cool
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meats, onion, honey, and egg, and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bread crumb-cream mixture and mix well. Wet your hands with water and form the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball, or a little smaller. Set them on a plate. You should have about 24 meatballs. Sometimes I make them smaller, about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
  5. Prepare the sauce: Return the skillet to the heat, whisk in the stock, cream, preserves, and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, preserves, and Quick Picked Cucumbers. If you can find lingonberry preserves, they add a deliciously authentic Swedish kick to this meal.


Cranberry-beer Pot Roast

There are probably thousands of ways to make a pot roast, and if you use a good cut of meat and cook it low and slow enough, chances are it’ll taste great. Here’s a tried-and-true recipe I make for my family a few times a year, always to rave reviews.

Cranberry-beer Pot Roast
Type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cooking time: 
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Servings: 8-10

Dark beer adds depth of flavor, and the cranberries pack an anti-oxidant punch.
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3-5 lb pot roast or brisket
  • 4 T sugar
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 bottle dark ale or other hearty beer

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dredge meat in sugar, covering whole surface.
  3. Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven or other pot with lid.
  4. Sear meat on all sides until well browned.
  5. Remove meat from pot and add onions.
  6. Sauté onions until browned, then add cranberries and stir until slightly softened.
  7. Pour in bottle of beer and use wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits.
  8. Return meat to pot. Add beef broth or water to mostly cover meat. Cover with lid, place in oven, and cook for at least 3 hours until fork-tender.
  9. Remove meat to cutting board. Slice across the grain into ½” thick slabs.
  10. Return slices to pot and let simmer for another 20 minutes.