Cooking 101

July 30, 2013

Embrace a Turkish classic with Kebab Koobideh

If you’ve always thought of kebabs as alternating meat and vegetables on a skewer, Tom Burke, a student chef at Johnson County Community College, would like you to think again. His recipe for Kebab Koobideh takes a more traditional approach, wrapping ground meat around a skewer instead.

If you’ve always thought of kebabs as alternating meat and vegetables on a skewer, Tom Burke would like you to think again.

His recipe for Kebab Koobideh takes a more traditional approach, wrapping ground meat around a skewer instead.

“This is the classic Turkish way to prepare them,” said the student chef at Johnson County Community College.

He’s paired the kebabs with easy-to-fix spiced lentils and a simple lettuce salad.

Lentils add a hefty nutritional punch to the menu. They’re an excellent source of fiber, as well as B vitamins and protein.

They’re also a flavor chameleon, picking up the tastes of the foods and seasonings they’re cooked with. The lentil dish takes advantage of that property.

Don’t like what he’s paired them with? Try your own combinations, he suggests. It’s hard to go wrong.

Not familiar with the garam masala used to season the kebabs? It’s an Indian seasoning that generally includes black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cardamom pods, toasted and ground to a powder. You can find it at most large grocery stores.

Kebab Koobideh Makes 4 servings 1 pound ground lamb (or beef if lamb is not available) 1 small onion, finely diced 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 egg

In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, onion, turmeric, garam masala, salt, pepper and egg until well blended. Cover, refrigerate at least 2 hours. Press mixture around skewers and cook on grill or under broiler, turning occasionally to ensure that all sides are evenly cooked.

Per serving: 352 calories (72 percent from fat), 28 grams total fat (12 grams saturated), 136 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams protein, 352 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber. Lentils and Bibb Lettuce Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette Makes 4 servings


1 1/2 cups dried lentils 4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 carrot, peeled and diced 1/2 small onion, diced fine 1 bay leaf 1 garlic clove, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 red bell peppers, divided 1 large lemon 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 garlic clove, minced Black pepper, freshly ground 1/2 cup olive oil 2 teaspoons fresh mint, minced 3 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (any combination; basil and oregano work well) 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled, divided


2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup canola oil Ground black pepper to taste 3/4 tablespoon fresh chives or parsley Sugar or honey, to taste


1 to 2 heads Bibb lettuce Shredded carrots, croutons, for garnish

For the lentils:

Pick through lentils, removing any stones. Rinse; check again for stones. In 2-quart saucepan, bring chicken or vegetable stock to boil. Add lentils, carrot, onion, bay leaf, minced garlic and salt. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer until cooked, 20 to 25 minutes, skimming foam from mixture as needed. Lentils should be tender yet firm enough to hold their shape. Remove bay leaf; drain.

While lentils are cooking, roast bell peppers under the broiler or on the grill until they are evenly charred, about 10 minutes. Place roasted peppers in a large bowl; cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes; peel off the charred skins. Do not rinse under water, or juices will be lost. Slit peppers open, remove veins and seeds, dice.

Remove two side strips of peel from the lemon with a vegetable peeler or zester, and slice into narrow slivers. Juice the lemon and measure out 3 tablespoons juice. Place juice in a bowl with lemon peel, paprika, cayenne, minced garlic and salt to taste. Stir until the salt dissolves; whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust for tartness, adding more oil or lemon juice as needed.

Fold the mixture into warm lentils; add mint, herbs and half of the roasted peppers, mixing well. Gently stir in half of the crumbled feta. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the vinaigrette:

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegars, mustard and salt. Slowly whisk in the canola oil. When all the oil has been incorporated, season the vinaigrette with additional salt, pepper and chives or parsley, to taste. Add sugar or honey if needed to balance the taste.

For the salad:

Tear apart Bibb lettuce; wash leaves in cold water to remove any soil. Drain in colander or use a salad spinner to dry them. Toss the leaves with the balsamic vinaigrette; place them on a chilled salad plate. Garnish with remaining diced roasted red peppers, remaining crumbled feta cheese, shredded carrots and croutons.

Toss lentils with a sprinkle of red wine or balsamic vinegar, and fluff all the ingredients.

Per serving: 795 calories (58 percent from fat), 56 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 54 grams carbohydrates, 38 grams protein, 704 milligrams sodium, 25 grams dietary fiber.

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