Saffron Turkey Kebabs with Jewelled Rice Salad

Automne 2016
food and drink

BY: Eric Vellend

Smoky, juicy and fragrant with saffron, these Persian-style brochettes are paired with a stunning rice salad that’s loaded with sweet currants, tart pomegranate seeds and crunchy walnuts. To toast walnuts, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 350°F (180°F) oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Found at Middle Eastern food shops, sumac is a dried, ground berry that adds a sparkle of acidity to grilled meats.

1½ cups (375 mL) basamati rice, rinsed
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
½ tsp (2 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup (80 mL) dried currants
⅔ cup (150 mL) pomegranate seeds
1 cup (250 mL) walnut halves, toasted, coarsely chopped
½ cup (125 mL) chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 bamboo skewers, each 10 inches (25 cm)
¼ tsp (1 mL) saffron, crumbled
2 tbsp (30 mL) hot water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, grated
⅔ cup (150 mL) plain full-fat yogurt
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs (1 kg) boneless skinless turkey breast, cut into 1½ inch (4 cm) chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, melted
Plain yogurt and sumac (optional) for serving

1 For the rice salad, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12 minutes. Drain. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

2 Place shallots and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in orange zest, sugar, cinnamon and olive oil. Set aside.

3 In a large mixing bowl, place cooled rice, currants, pomegranate seeds, walnuts and parsley. Add dressing and season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

4 For the kebabs, soak skewers in hot water at least 30 minutes.

5 In a large mixing bowl, combine saffron and water. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in garlic, onion, yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil. Add turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Drain skewers and pat dry with paper towel. Thread turkey onto skewers, dividing evenly. Place in an airtight container. Top with excess marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

6 Preheat barbecue to medium-high.

7 Remove kebabs from marinade. Clean and oil barbecue grate. Grill kebabs, turning occasionally and basting with butter, until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with rice salad, yogurt and sumac, if using.

Serves 4 to 6

What to Serve