Lamb & Beef Kefka

I love to experiment with different cuisines, flavors, spices and techniques in the kitchen. Sometimes I’m trying to recreate something similar that we enjoyed at a restaurant or that I’ve seen on tv. And while I know it’s easy to follow a recipe, I love to try making it totally on my own. This brings us to my latest – lamb and beef kefka! I love Mediterranean food and I recently received these great grilling skewers as a gift from my sister…seems like a perfect storm, right? Grab your pitas and the typical fixings and give this one a try.

LAMB & BEEF KEFKA

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs. Ground Lamb
  • 1 Lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup Onion – finely diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well by hand. You can use leaner beef in this recipe, but I recommend 80/20 for the best taste.
  • Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove mixture from refrigerator and separate into 3 or 4 equal portions.
  • Using flat metal skewers (round ones will only cause the meat to spin when you try to turn them) form each portion of meat into a 7-8″ long tube. You’ll want these to be no more than 1 1/2″ inches thick and formed tightly around the skewer. They should be slightly flat rather than round for more even cooking.
  • Grill skewers over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes per side or until your desired doneness.
  • Remove meat from grill and serve immediately.

You can definitely eat the Kefka on its own with some butter & turmeric rice. However, I love putting these in warm pita with cucumber, tomato, onion and a dollop of harissa-spiced Greek yogurt. Either way, you’ll be transported to a far-away, and delicious, place. Dig in!

Beef Tongue Tacos (Tacos de Lingua)

When we had an opportunity to split a whole steer with some neighbors, we jumped at the chance.  My first question was, “does anyone want the weird parts?”  Luckily for me, no one did and I ended up with a beef tongue.  What do you do with a beef tongue?  Well, you make the best tacos you’ve ever had!  The richest beef lays a perfect foundation for all your favorite south-of-the-border toppings in this easy dish.

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BEEF TONGUE TACOS

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Lbs. Beef Tongue
  • 4 Shallots, Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Smashed
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 1 Tbs. Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbs. Canola Oil
  • Small Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Avocado, Diced
  • Pickled Red Onions
  • Queso Fresco, Grated

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Instructions

  • Rinse beef tongue thoroughly and place in a medium stock pot.
  • Place shallots, garlic cloves, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves in with the tongue.
  • Cover completely with water and place on stove on medium heat covered until boiling.
  • Turn down heat and simmer with lid cracked for 3 hours.  You may need to add some liquid along the way to ensure the tongue remains covered.  HINT:  the skin on the tongue will turn bright white – that’s OK!
  • At 3 hours, take the pot off heat.  Remove tongue from liquid and place on a cutting board until you are able to handle.
  • Using a sharp knife to start it, peel the outer skin from the tongue completely.  Remove any excess fat or connective tissue.
  • Dice meat into 1-inch cubes.
  • In a cast iron skillet, sauté meat in canola oil until edges are crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove meat and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve immediately, assembling tacos with meat and toppings listed in ingredients.

If you can get past the idea of the tongue, you’ll experience the richest tender beef you’ve ever had.  With it’s deep flavor, it stands up to spicy salsa, the bite of pickled red onions, creamy avocado and salty queso fresco.  (SIDE NOTE:  Don’t buy pickled onions!  Dissolve 3 Tbs. sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. salt in 1 cup white vinegar over low heat.  Add 1 Tsp. black peppercorns and pour the hot liquid over a thinly sliced large red onion.  Allow to cool and store covered in the refrigerator.)  The combinations are endless, but the star of the show is the beef that can taste you back!  My friend Marcos would be so proud of me.  Dig in!

Thai BBQ Short Ribs

While I’ve never had a chance to travel to Asia, I absolutely love all kinds of food from the region.  This recipe for short ribs draws inspiration from Thai cooking and uses satay sauce as the base for the marinade.  Satay is usually made with coconut milk, peanuts, garlic and spices.  It’s an easy marinade that’ll make you devour these short ribs with all their fatty goodness!  You’ll want to try it on chicken as well – the peanut, coconut and spice all make for a warm nutty bbq treat.

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THAI BBQ SHORT RIBS

Ingredients

  • 3 Lbs. Sliced Beef Short Ribs
  • 1/2 Cup Prepared Satay BBQ Sauce (available in most grocery stores with Asian foods)
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Tbs. Lite Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh Lime Juice
  • Pinch Red Pepper Flakes

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Instructions

  • In a small bowl, stir together satay bbq sauce and remaining ingredients until smooth and brown sugar dissolves.
  • Brush both sides of each short rib with marinade and stack in a 13×9 baking dish.
  • Pour any remaining marinade over the short ribs.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  • Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove each rib from the baking dish and shake off an excess marinade as you place them on a hot grill.  Grill short rib slices over medium heat for 5-7 minutes per side.  Flip them several times to avoid burning the marinade.
  • Serve immediately.

If you’re a fan of Thai food or this is your first foray into the world of satay, I think you’ll be glad you made this recipe!  You can also use the recipe above and substitute an equal amount of peanut butter for the brown sugar and use it as a dipping sauce!  The combination of richness, warmth and a hint of sweetness make this delicious on beef and chicken and any time of the year.  Dig in!