Everyone around me seems to be enjoying kebabs lately and that got me in the mood to make some for dinner the other night. Not only was I going to make the grilled kebabs on a skewer, but I also wanted the pita bread on the side, the charred garlicky and caramelized tomatoes and the refreshing but piquant yogurt sauce. In a few words, I wanted the whole thing, just as it is served in a restaurant. You, too, can prepare this classic Middle Eastern (with a Greek twist) dish at home because I’ve made it so easy that it’s a now a quick and fun dinner for a weeknight. How? Instead of using three different skillets to cook the kebabs, the charred tomatoes and the pitta bread separately, I’m using only one large non-stick pan for all, thus creating less mess in the kitchen.
I prepared my kebabs with ground turkey, not because I’m a huge fan of this type of poultry, but because we should all be cutting down on red meat – as per the latest reports on beef and processed meat in particular – that were making the news headlines all last week. Be aware, however, than in order to benefit from the lean turkey meat, you will need to use the breast only. But of course, these kebabs can be prepared with any type of ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey, chicken) or a combination of two or more.
You will need to use small wooden skewers and if you do not have any, you can cut the long ones to fit your pan.
Ingredients for a dinner of four (plus a few leftover kebabs):
For the kebabs :
- 2 lbs ground turkey (about 1 kg)
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs (plain)
- 5 green onions white part only, chopped
- 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons dill, minced
- salt & pepper
- Olive oil for the pan
- short wooden skewers
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1½ cups yogurt
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
For the pita bread:
- Store-bought pita bread (look for the Greek style pitas, also known as flat bread), cut in triangles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for the pan
For the tomatoes:
- 8 Campari tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Olive oil for the pan
- Make the yogurt sauce: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Keep refrigerated.
- Make the kebabs: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Take some of the mixture into your hands and wrap it around the skewer into a log. Heat the pan and drizzle some olive oil. Place half of the kebabs in the pan and cook until well done, for about 10-15 minutes, turning the kebabs on all their sides. Wipe the pan with some kitchen paper, drizzle more olive oil and cook the rest of the kebabs. Wipe clean the pan with some kitchen paper.
- Prepare the pita bread: In the same pan, drizzle some olive oil and heat the pita bread on both sides, over high heat. about 1 minute for each side.
- Prepare the tomatoes: In the same pan, drizzle some olive oil. Place the tomatoes in the skillet, round side down. Sprinkle on the flat part of the tomatoes some sugar, salt and garlic powder. Once the round bottom sides of the tomatoes are nicely charred (about 2-3 minutes), turn the tomatoes upside down and cook the flat side until charred for another 1-2 minutes and until the tomatoes and soft. Remove from pan.
- Serve the kebabs with the pita bread, the tomatoes and the yogurt sauce. Enjoy!
(a) To add more flavor to the turkey ground meat, I started by cooking the green onion in a little olive oil in that same pan, until translucent, and added it to the rest of the ingredients when it had cooled.
(b) For even better results, you can prepare the kebab mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it.