My kids can be a challenge (read major pain) to feed at dinner time. First of all they tend to be grazers when it comes to food. They’re long and lean and unlike their mother they have very dainty appetites or so I believe, since they waste so much food. Unless of course it’s bedtime. Then they’re starving as if they haven’t eaten for days! It’s the strangest phenomenon…??
But last night when I told them I was making Lula Kabob for dinner, instead of being greeted with the usual and highly annoying “I don’t like that.” I was greeted with cheers and excitement.
C’est vrai? Can this be true? I was afraid to believe it. But maybe…. just maybe… I hit the mommy jackpot. I found the Holy Grail of What My Kids Will Always Eat For Dinner. It was too much for my mind to process and I kept thinking “it’s gotta be the meat on a stick. Everyone loves meat on a stick…”. So I nonchalantly rolled with it lest they realize… I’ve found their Kryptonite.
They licked their plates clean last night. And you can be sure that this meal is going into the rotation.
Here’s how I make Lula Kabob with Tzatziki & Tomatoes:
For the Tzatziki
Tzatziki is one of my favorite condiments. I love, love, love eating it with meat. It’s cool. It’s creamy. It’s just so darned delicious! Sometimes I buy it from Trader Joe’s and sometimes I make it from scratch. It depends on how much time I have and if I have the ingredients on hand or not. I’ve even used the Trader Joe’s stuff as a starter and then added my own ingredients to it. They both taste great but with the homemade you can control the consistency. Thick or thin. Your choice.
1. For homemade tzatziki you will need about 4-5 Persian cucumbers (Trader Joe’s sells these, they’re very small and skinny. If you can’t find the Persian ones a Hothouse cucumber will work too), 1 1/2 c. kefir cheese, 1/2 c. sour cream, 1/4 c. (or less) of water, 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill, 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint, 1 clove garlic, 2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste), 1 tsp. white pepper, and the juice of one lemon.
2. Prep the cucumbers by washing and slicing them very thinly on a mandolin or slicer. I peeled mine, but you don’t have to. Set aside.
3. In a bowl combine the kefir cheese, sour cream, garlic (use a garlic press of chop very finely) , dill, mint, salt, white pepper and the lemon juice and mix together. If it’s very thick add a splash of water to thin it out a little. But not too much because you will be adding the cucumbers and they will add their own water.
4. Add in the cucumbers and stir until the cucumbers are completely coated with the mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. As it sits the cucumbers will lose their water and the tzatziki will loosen up a bit. Also the flavors will meld.
For the Lula Kabob
In case you’re not familiar with Lula Kabob or a kabob it’s really just spiced ground meat on a stick. Different cultures make different versions of it using their preferred spices but it’s basically meat on a stick. I prefer the Lebanese version myself. Traditionally ground lamb is used (which I love) or even sirloin but for my recipe I just used ground chicken because it’s what I had. Any ground meat will work though.
1. You’ll need about 2lbs of ground chicken, 3/4 c. finely chopped yellow onion, 2 Tbsp. of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley, 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, 1 egg, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and enough bamboo/metal skewers for skewering. As always these measurements are approximations. Just spice according to your taste. Fry up a little piece of meat in a pan to test out the flavor. Oh, and if you’re really feeling cheeky and you have them on hand, you can really spice things up by adding a dash of allspice, nutmeg, fenugreek, cinnamon, clove and/or ginger. Those are the traditional Lebanese spices. But they’ll taste delicious either way.
2. Mix everything in a big bowl careful not to over mix. Over mixing toughens the meat. Always keep that in mind whenever you’re mixing any form of ground meat.
3. Gently form the meat around the skewer leaving enough space at one end to hold the stick. I usually use 6″ skewers because they are easier to handle for kids, but 9″ is also a good size. Form the meat about half way down the stick.
4. Place on a baking sheet at 425 degrees F for about 7-10 minutes depending on how big you made them. Just take one out and test it.
When the Lula Kabob are ready plate them up and serve with the chilled tzatziki sauce and some sliced tomatoes on the side.
This meal is definitely… kid Kryptonite.