1 ½ pounds ground beef (80-85% lean)
1 pound ground lamb (80-85% lean)
1 ½ medium yellow onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sumac (sold at the Middle Eastern markets)
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing over the kabobs after grilling)
FOR THE GRILLED VEGETABLES
4 ripe but firm Roma tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper, stem removed, deseeded and quartered
Olive oil to brush the vegetables with before grilling
You will need ten 1-inch metal skewers.
For best results the meat should be fresh (not previously frozen) and at room temperature.
Finely chop the onion pieces in a food processor until very juicy. Place a fine metal mesh over a bowl and strain the processed onion by pressing it with a spatula. Discard the juice.
Add the remaining onion pulp to a medium bowl.
Add the ground beef and lamb, minced garlic, salt, spices and egg to the bowl. Knead all of the ingredients for several minutes until the mixture is paste like and sticks together without falling apart.
Fill up a small bowl with tap water, this is for wetting your fingers so the meat does not stick to them when you are making the kabobs.
Divide the meat into 10 equal balls.
Get one of the balls of meat in the palm of your hand, place the skewer on top of it and squeeze the meat around the skewer. Once you make sure that meat is not going to fall off, start squeezing it from top to bottom and cover the middle section of the skewer. Leave the top and bottom of the skewer clear. Wet your fingers with the tap water and keep squeezing and spreading the meat evenly around the skewer. The meat should be about ½ inch thick all around the skewer.
Set the skewer gently on a shallow baking sheet with sides, so the meat does not touch the floor of the baking sheet. Continue making the rest of the kabobs. At this point the uncooked kabobs can sit over the counter while you get the grill ready.
To Grill Kabob Koobideh: You will need two square metal pipes that you will place parallel to each other on top and bottom of the cooking grate of your grill lengthwise. The top pipe is for placing the tip of the skewers and the bottom one is for the handles. This is so the skewers are raised and the meat does not touch the hot grate, otherwise it will stick and fall right off.
The coals are ready when they are gray and covered with ash.
If you’re grilling vegetables it is always better to skewer them separate from the kabobs. I use thinner skewers for the vegetables because if the skewers are too wide the turgid vegetables such as green peppers will tear and fall apart.
The vegetables take longer to grill than the meat, so if the space is limited, grill the vegetables first and keep them warm under an aluminum foil. If there is enough grilling surface start grilling the veggies first and halfway through grilling, start the kabobs.
Place as many kabob skewers as you can fit on the grill, leave some space between them. As soon as you are done arranging all the skewers, start turning the first skewer and keep turning the rest in the order that you have placed them on the grill. The reason for this quick turning is to cook both sides of the kabobs for a short time so the meat cooks and firms up all around and does not fall off the skewer. Do not overcook the kabobs because they are thin and tend to dry out. Turn the kabobs again until you get the doneness you desire. The kabobs should have a nice grilled color on the outside and no longer pink inside, but still very juicy.
When the kabobs are ready, remove them from the heat and into a container lined with a large aluminum foil. Keep the kabobs covered with the foil until ready to serve.
To serve, use a piece of flat bread (Sangak, soft lavash, or pita bread) larger than the palm of your hand. Start at the end with handle, grab the kabob and slide it off the skewer onto the serving platter. This is the easiest and safest way to pull the kabobs off the skewer. The flavorful kabob juices make the bread so delicious that everyone will want a piece.
Brush melted butter over the kabobs.
Enjoy Kabob Koobideh with Persian rice that has been tossed with cubed softened butter and a sprinkle of sumac. Serve it with a side of grilled vegetables, a slice of raw red or white onion and Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs). The drink of choice is usually Doogh (Persian yogurt drink)
This kabob is equally delicious served with grilled vegetables over Sangak or Lavash, which are both Persian flat breads.