Readers' Recipe Swap: Skewered

 ,  |  Updated: May 24, 2014 12:28 IST

Readers' Recipe Swap: Skewered
From pinchos to kebabs, you've really been giving these recipes some stick...

Cheese and pineapple, toasted marshmallow, toffee apples - everything just tastes better on a stick, and this week's recipes are no exception. A feast of spicy Turkish sausages, sweetly nutty koftas, aromatic Vietnamese meatballs and a Scottish salmon and seaweed kebab that sings of the seaside; basically, there's no excuse not to get the barbecue out this weekend.

Contributor Hulya Erdal informs me that the Turks aren't put off by a bit of rain - they just grill under an umbrella - but to guarantee sunshine, make MizPepperpot's Jamaican jerk skewers. Studded with sweetly caramelised pineapple, they're a taste of the Caribbean, whatever the weather.

The winning recipe: turkey and pineapple jerk sticks

Turkey isn't just for Christmas! I use it throughout the year - the thigh meat in particular - as it's tasty, healthy, and best of all inexpensive. These are beautiful cooked on the barbecue or in the oven; the sweet, juicy pineapple goes so well with the jerk flavours. To make them super delicious, marinate the meat overnight.
MizPepperpot via GuardianWitness

Serves 4
500g turkey/chicken thigh, cut into chunks
(chicken thigh makes a good substitute)
½ a small pineapple, trimmed and cut into chunks

For the marinade
6 spring onions, chopped
2 Scotch Bonnet peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
100ml soy sauce
125ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Mix together all the marinade ingredients, then add the meat. Cover and marinate overnight.

2 Thread the meat on to skewers, along with the pineapple, and barbecue, grill or bake until cooked through.

Adana kebab

This recipe was given to me by a kebab chef who's been at it for 30 years! It gives you the most succulent, just the right side of spicy, adana - the famous spicy sausage from southern Turkey, traditionally moulded on to flat skewers and cooked over hot coals. It encompasses everything that's right about kebab: spicy, juicy and a little fatty! Don't worry if you can't get the right skewers: just form the mix into little ovals, and serve as koftes.

Traditionally, it's made with a little sheep tail fat added to the mix, and it's always served with onion salad or a green peasant-style salad of diced onions, tomatoes and cucumber and parsley.
Hulya Erdal,

Serves 8
1kg lamb mince
1 medium onion, grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Half a bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 3 sprigs), finely chopped
1 sweet red pepper, very finely chopped
1 tbsp flaked red pepper (aka pul biber; or more or less, depending on your liking for heat)
½ tbsp fine salt

1 Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. Knead the mixture well, until the mince is soft and slightly sticky in texture and is studded with flecks of colour from the garlic, pepper and parsley. Leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.

2 Have a bowl of water handy. Wet your hands. Take a golf ball-sized piece of lamb mix and press on to a long, flat, metal skewer. Repeat so the skewer looks like a long, slightly flat sausage. Lay the prepared adana on a tray lined with greaseproof paper, then repeat with the rest of the mix.

3 Barbecue over coals, turning once or twice, until cooked through and slightly charred. (Alternatively, on a rainy day, if you don't fancy standing outside with an umbrella over your barbecue as most Turks would do, place the adana under a medium grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or cook in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for about 15‑20 minutes.

4 Serve with lots of salad, some rice or bread, and a refreshing, minty, cucumber and yoghurt dip (cacik) to take the edge off the hot pepper flakes.

Pinchos morunos

I love these Spanish meat skewers for their Moorish influence - in fact I don't just love them, I adore them. They are, I'm afraid to say, completely moorish. (Ba boom tish - I'm here all week!)

You could use chicken, beef or lamb - actually, big prawns would be nice too. They are probably best cooked over a barbecue, but a home grill works perfectly well.
Rachel_Kelly, via GuardianWitness,

Serves 3-4
500g pork fillet, cubed
For the marinade
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

1 Trim fat off the meat. Chop into bite‑sized pieces. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Tip in the meat and squelch together to ensure all the chunks of meat are coated. The meat should marinate for at least 2 hours, but it is best if covered and left in the fridge overnight.If using bamboo skewers, these need to be soaked in cold water for at least an hour before use.

2 While the skewers are soaking, bring the meat back to room temperature. Thread each skewer with 5 or 6 pieces of meat. Prepare the barbecue, or preheat the grill to high if using. Alternatively, you could fry them in a hot pan.

3 Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the meat has browned, turning a few times - it should still be moist. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over, and chunks of crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Vietnamese skewers with lemongrass

Throw these skewers on the barbecue or your stove-top griddle pan; they're juicy and full of the summer flavours of mint, lemongrass and lime juice. Goes well with an Asian noodle salad - or any other kind., via GuardianWitness

Makes 8
250g pork mince
250g chicken mince
1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 green chilli, minced
1 spring onion, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint

1 Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

2 Using 2 tbsp mince at a time, form into sausage-style kebabs. Continue until there is no meat remaining.

3 Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm. Gently run a skewer through each mince kebab.

4 Lightly brush with oil and grill on the barbecue or in a griddle pan until cooked through - be careful not to overcook. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Spiced almond koftas

This is a tasty, meat-free alternative to the traditional lamb kofta. You can make them as spicy as you dare. Best serve with warmed naan breads, a fresh salad and a bowl of thick natural mint yoghurt, or maybe just a squeeze of lemon.
Betty Bee, via GuardianWitness

Serves 4
Vegetable oil, to fry
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Chilli powder, to taste
400g tinned white beans
200g ground almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten
Flour, to mould

1 Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, and cook the onions and garlic until golden. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder, then cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

2 Put this mixture in a food processor with the drained beans, ground almonds, egg and some salt and pepper. Whizz until you have a smooth dough.

3 Use floured hands to form the dough into sausages around eight skewers. Brush with a little oil and cook on a barbecue or under a hot grill for about 5 minutes, turning once.

Seaweed, salmon and cucumber kebabs

Each species of seaweed has a distinctive taste. For smoky-bacon flavoured salmon, use dulse, but if we make this at a beach barbecue, we wrap the salmon in fresh sea lettuce. (If foraging sea lettuce always ensure it is picked from a rock pool, well away from fresh water, which it likes.) Never cook with storm cast or floating seaweed, and do not remove the holdfast.
Fiona Murray, via GuardianWitness

Makes 4
4 fillets salmon
½ cucumber
8 small plum tomatoes

For the marinade
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp runny honey
2 tbsp dried seaweed

1 Whisk the oil, honey and seaweed together in a shallow dish. Cut each salmon fillet into thirds. Divide the cucumber in half and remove the seeds, then cut it into 3cm thick slices.

2 Put the salmon, cucumber and tomatoes into the seaweed marinade and brush to coat well. Cover and leave for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 4 wooden kebab sticks in cold water, if using.

3 Thread the marinated ingredients on to the skewers, alternating the cucumber with the salmon and 2 tomatoes per skewer. Drizzle any excess marinade over the skewers.

4 Cook in a moderate oven for about 7-10 minutes until the salmon is opaque, or cook on a griddle or barbecue.

Photograph: Everything just tastes better on a stick: including these turkey and pineapple jerk sticks by Jill Mead for the Guardian



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