Giaourtlou kebab: Meat with tomato sauce and yogurt

Yesterday I brought to our table the strength and spiciness of  oriental food. A rare treat in our family.  If peppers and cumin are not your friends, you need to pass.  My kids did. But the dish spiced up (and up!) the grown-up palates. We opened a bottle off red Gerovasileiou and had a Friday night feast. The basis of the recipe comes from Vicky with the usual modifications my kitchen supplies often necessitate. Although, this time the ingredients I had to modify are not easily available in the U.S., not just my kitchen.


Ingredients for kebab

  • 2 pounds minced meat (beef)
  • 1 cup shredded peppers  — I chopped  Trader Joe’s frozen melange a troi (red, yellow and green pepper strips)
  • 4 cloves of garlic  — I used 3 cubes of frozen garlic pulp, Trader Joe’s again (and no I don’t get paid for the advertisement :-))
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red crushed pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (a little less actually) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (regular is fine I’m sure)

Ingredients for the tomato sauce

  • 2 400-gram cans crushed tomatoes (I had one can crushed tomatoes and one can tomato sauce)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 frozen cubes of garlic pulp (or 2 cloves of garlic minced)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 ground clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients for serving

  • pitta bread slices
  • some olive oil to cook the pitta bread slices
  • Greek style yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped parsley

How to make: Mix all the kebab ingredients and knead well. Put in the fridge and let it stand for couple of hours. I had prepared the meat the night before  to have it ready when I needed it. To make the sauce: saute the onions for a few minutes or until they become transparent. Add the garlic and saute a bit more (don’t burn it). Add the remaining tomato sauce ingredients and cook for about 45 minutes or until the sauce thickens and you get nice slightly chunky texture. I had also prepared the sauce the night before.  Before dinner time, put the meat in skewers, as shown in the photo, and grill them. I grilled them on high and  placed the grill dish just above the middle of the oven. Turn the kebab until it’s evenly brown. In the meantime, sprinkle some water on the pitta bread and spread a little olive oil on each side. I cooked the pitta bread on a stove top grill pan. To serve: place a pitta bread on a dish. Spread tomato sauce. Place two kebabs in the middle and yogurt at the sides. Top with parsley and ground cumin (or ground sweet red pepper but I didn’t have any).  Let your palate experience the oriental flavors. But don’t over do it. This is a ‘heavy’ dish.

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