Monday, July 1, 2013

#HEBPrimoPicks Mad Moroccan BBQ Sauce...Featuring Moroccan Beef Kebabs with Curried Cranberry-Pistachio Rice

July 4th is nearly upon us, so I've been sharing lots of BBQ-friendly dishes the past week or so. I was thrilled when my latest HEB Primo Picks package contained two new Central Market BBQ sauces. These aren't your typical BBQ sauces, folks! I received the international-inspired Mad Moroccan and Thai On On BBQ sauces to play around with in my kitchen this month. The Thai sauce is mild, with a complex flavor; it's a little sweet, a little salty...and it features lime juice, cilantro and a hint of coconut. I actually used it as a dipping sauce for some spring rolls I served one evening, and it worked perfectly. I plan to use this sauce to grill up some shrimp skewers later this week. The Mad Moroccan is a bit spicier, with a sweet and tangy flavor...and a bit of a spicy kick. I decided to feature this sauce in a fun twist on grilled skewers. I grilled up some Moroccan Beef Kebabs with Curried Cranberry-Pistachio Rice. This dish sounds a bit exotic, but it's actually made with lots of familiar ingredients that will appeal to the entire family.

I found a recipe online for these kebabs and used that as my jumping off point. The skewers are made with economical lean ground beef, and they're sort of a hybrid of meatballs and burgers. They're seasoned with spices typically found in Moroccan dishes and served over a fabulous rice that's seasoned with curry powder and tossed with dried cranberries and chopped pistachios. The entire meal can be ready in just over 30 minutes, if you multi-task the way I show you.

Moroccan Beef Kebabs 
with Curried Cranberry-Pistachio Rice
adapted from Curtis Stone

Step 1: Place the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef, 2 tbs. finely diced purple onion, 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, 3 tbs. Central Market Mad Moroccan BBQ sauce, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. cinnamon (or allspice), 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. onion powder, salt & pepper to taste, and 1 tsp. dried rosemary. Use clean hands to combine all of the ingredients. Shape into 4 long ovals and place onto wooden skewers.

Step 2: Place 2 cups water in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add 1 cup basmati rice, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. curry powder, and 1 tbs. butter. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. This gives you a pocket of time to cook the kebabs. Heat a well-oiled  cast-iron grill pan over med-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the kebabs and cook for 4 minutes per side for med-well; sprinkle each side of the kebabs with salt & pepper to taste as they cook.

Step 3: Reduce heat to medium, and brush the kebabs liberally with more of the Mad Moroccan BBQ sauce. Let them simmer for a minute, then flip the kebabs over and repeat. When the rice has cooked, add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios. Give the rice a stir, then cover and let sit for at least five minutes. To serve, spoon the rice onto a serving platter and top with the kebabs.

Wow, is this dish good! The kebabs are very juicy thanks to a double dose of the Mad Moroccan sauce inside and out, with the perfect amount of seasoning. The warmth from the cinnamon is an especially nice background flavor. And the rice? It not only pairs perfectly with the kebabs, it's amazing in its own right: warm curry powder, sweet-tart dried cranberries and crunchy pistachios combine for an addictive rice pilaf. I'll definitely be making this rice again very soon! If you're not a curry fan, you can simply serve the kabobs with pita bread and yogurt-based tzatziki for a fabulous Moroccan spin in a traditional burger. 

If you'd like to try this recipe at home, the entire line of Central Market BBQ sauces can be found at all Central Market locations in Texas, as well as many larger HEB stores.  

Disclosure: HEB provided me with two bottles of Central Market BBQ sauce to facilitate this article. The opinions expressed are my own.

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