Peruvian Kebabs and Roasted Yellow Pepper Sauce

Kebabs have to be one of my all-time favorite barbecue meals. They allow you to dress up an otherwise bland piece of meat and make something spectacular out of it. And it’s on a stick. I mean, who doesn’t like food on a stick?

Shish Kebabs, or marinated meat roasted on a stick, have been around for centuries.  The food is said to come from Turkey, according to research from and reference librarian Lynne Olver. The phrase comes originally from Turkish words meaining “skewer” and “roast meat”.

Three main types dominate: ones with a dry rub, marinated and ground meat pressed on a stick.

I’m a bigger fan of the marinated type, though I’ve had some great dry-rub types. A friend once made this delicious dry rub with cinnamon, cumin and other spices. Kabul’s on 45th Street in Seattle comes to mind when thinking of places to get great kebabs without making them yourself.

But Sunday was a stay-at-home kind of night, so I went hunting online for recipes.

My main criticism of most kebab recipes out there are the calls to alternate meat, onions and peppers or other veggies. While on the face of it, having those flavors mix in the cooking wouldn’t seem like a bad idea, but I’ve never had much success getting them all to cook at the same pace. My onions usually end up fairly raw while the meat blackens. So, I generally cook them separately.

But I came across a meat-only recipe that even tasted good reheated (recipe below).  

I used top round roast because it was on sale, but a more tender cut of meat, such as the suggested sirloin would make it better. Knowing the meat could dry out, I added about a quarter cup of olive oil to the marinade. I marinated it for about nine hours, but some pieces ended up a little chewy still.

I’ve got to say that these are some of the best kebabs I’ve had. I don’t have aji amarillo, as called for by the recipe, so I used a sweet paprika and added a dash of cayenne. Same for the roasted yellow pepper sauce. The sauce, though, could really have benefited from something with a little more of a smoky or sweet note, maybe by roasting the peppers along with some hickory chips (I used a gas grill). Adding some roast garlic instead of the minced garlic also may smooth out the taste a bit.

I topped off the whole meal with some roasted, skewered peppers and onions, a Belgian ale and a side of Tabouleh (more on those last two later).

Peruvian Beef Kebabs

From Cooking Light

1 1/2  pounds  boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
2  teaspoons  ground aji amarillo or hot paprika
1  teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  ground turmeric

3  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1  teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  ground aji amarillo or hot paprika
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  teaspoon  ground turmeric

Toss together the marinade ingredients and place it with beef in a bowl or sealable plastic bag and chill for at least 3 hours.

Oil the grill rack and fire it up.

Mix the rub ingredients together and before cooking, press the mix onto the skewered beef. Grill about six minutes or until cooked through. Serve with roasted yellow pepper sauce, (below).

Roasted Yellow Pepper Sauce

1  large yellow bell pepper (about 10 ounces)
1/4  cup  finely chopped green onions
2  tablespoons  white vinegar
1  tablespoon  water
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  teaspoon  ground aji amarillo or hot paprika
1/2  teaspoon  ground turmeric
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1  garlic clove, minced

Cut bell pepper in half, remove seed and membranes and roast over grill or in the oven until skin is blackened. Put the cooked halves in a plastic or paper bag and let sit for 15 minutes (this helps the skin loosen from the flesh and makes it easy to peel). Peel and chop the pepper, then put it and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth.

2 thoughts on “Peruvian Kebabs and Roasted Yellow Pepper Sauce

  1. The “Peruvian Beef Kabobs” recipe has been Americanized.

    ‘Anticuchos’ as they are called in Peru are made with beef hearts not steak strips. They are so traditionally popular in Peru, that special allowance was made for the importation of beef hearts from Argentina during a law prohibiting the importation of beef. They were also allowed to be sold during the half of each month when the sale of beef was prohibited in restaurants(‘veda’). It was their form of rationing beef after expropriation and socialism decimated the cattle industry.

    The recipe, however, will put many as close to the taste as they would like to get.

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