Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Harissa Grilled Beef Kebabs

The deliciously bold, spicy sauce called “harissa”—common in North African cuisine—is a mixture of dried chiles, fragrant spices, fresh lemon juice and olive oil, which all come together for a flavorful balance of heat and savor.

For this recipe, I used two types of dried chiles—de arbol for some spice and guajillo for deep, earthy goodness. If you like more heat, simply increase the number of chiles de arbol from four to six (or seven).

Serves 4

  • 4 chiles de arbol, stems removed, torn into 2-3 pieces, (shake out seeds, if desired)
  • 2 guajillo chiles, stems removed, torn into 3-4 pieces, (shake out seeds, if desired)
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb beef sirloin steak (about 1-inch thick), cut into 12 equal pieces 
  • olive oil, for oiling grill grate

Beef Pieces
  1. Place all the dried chiles in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. When cool enough to handle, chop the chiles and place in a food processor along with the garlic, coriander and cumin and pulse to form a coarse paste. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, tomato paste, and paprika and season with salt. Process until almost smooth, but still has texture.
  3. With the motor running, gradually add the extra virgin olive oil and process until chunky smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Reserve 1/2 for serving.

Torn Chiles

Chile Mixture Ready to Grind

After Grinding

Juice Mixture Added

Oil Added

  1. Place the beef pieces in a bowl and rub the remaining 1/2 of the harissa all over them. Cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours.
  2. Light a grill for medium-high heat, with space for off-heat cooking.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and thread 3 pieces onto each of 4 skewers. (Soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before using.) Rub the grill grate with oil.
  4. Grill the skewers until lightly charred in spots and the beef is medium-rare, turning a few times and moving off heat as needed to prevent flare-ups, 6-7 minutes total, depending on thickness (or to desired degree of doneness).

Harissa-Rubbed Beef

Kebabs Ready to Grill

Beginning to Grill

Grilled Kebabs

Serve the skewers with the reserved harissa, passing at the table.

Harissa Grilled Beef Kebabs

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