Kabob Koobideh is the most popular kabob in Iran and uses a spice that is unique to the Middle East – sumac. Sumac has tart and fruity, almost citrus flavor that goes well with meat. This kabob utilizes ground meat rather than cubes, but sumac is commonly used on both kinds. The mechanics of ground meat kabobs is a bit tricky.
1 pound ground beef
3/4 medium onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole onion 1 red or yellow bell pepper
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 Roma tomatoes
Cut the onion into small pieces and process them in a food processor to a fine cut. Press the onion in a sieve to eliminate and discard the juice. Combine the meat, onion, and next 3 ingredients (salt through pepper) in a bowl and thoroughly blend. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 to 60 minutes. You will need flat skewers for the meat, the wider the better. Before lighting the grill, place two clean bricks on the cooking grate spaced so that they support only the ends of the skewers.
Cut the whole onion into quarters, then cut the quarters in half. Remove the bell pepper’s seeds and membranes and cut into pieces similar in size to the onion. Form the meat mixture into balls of approximately 1/3 cup volume. Squeeze the meat balls around the skewers and mold them into a sausage shape of no more than 3/4 inch diameter. Place the skewered meat on a tray with raised sides so the meat will not stick the bottom of the tray. Skewer the onion and peppers alternately.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over a hot fire. Brush the onions and peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the meat skewers on the bricks first and then the tomatoes and skewered vegetables directly on the cooking grate.
As soon as everything is on the grill, cook for 30 seconds and then turn the meat. This is critical because if the meat fully cooked through on one side and is then turned it will fall off of the skewer. Continue cooking the meat for 5 minutes per side. Turn the onion and pepper skewers 1/4 turn every 3 minutes (12 minutes total).