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Ground Beef And Pistachio Kebabs

serves 4

In Turkey, they cook kebabs over the grill and not directly on it so that the meat becomes crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside, without getting charred.

Read more about this recipe in Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.


Spice mix:
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried mint
1 tablespoon aleppo chilies
1 tablespoon black pepper

1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 teaspoon aleppo chili
1 roasted bell pepper, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons Turkish red pepper paste
1 egg white
1 cup toasted and coarsely ground pistachios

Serve with:
4 (10-inch) pitas, cut in half
1 cup sliced red onions tossed with sumac (optional)
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
1 cup roughly chopped romaine leaves
8 mint leaves, roughly chopped


prep: 25 minutes
total: 25 minutes


small bowl
standing mixer
8 skewers


1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.

2. Knead the ground meat with 2 teaspoons kebab spice (reserve the rest for another use), chilies and red pepper in a standing mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until the meat becomes creamy and a little sticky. (If you don't have a standing mixer, use a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and carefully push the pulse button on and off until the meat becomes smooth. You can also do this by hand, but it will take much longer.)

3. Add the egg white and pistachios and continue to knead the meat until the mixture comes together again and resembles a wet dough. You can pinch off some meat at this point and cook it to test seasoning. Add salt to taste.

4. Shape the meat into 8 (2-ounce) patties or short sausage shapes and press each patty into a skewer. Squeeze and shape the kofte into long, thin meatballs around the skewers. Set aside.

5. Grill the kofte for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.

6. Rest the kofte on pita halves. Pass them around the table with bowls of sliced red onions sprinkled with sumac, yogurt, tomatoes, romaine and mint leaves.

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