Friday, July 17, 2009

Israel on the Grill -- My First Column for the j. and a Pomegranate Molasses BBQ Sauce Recipe

My first column for the j., a Jewish newsweekly in the Bay area with a circulation of 48,000, was published today. I focused on Israeli-style grilled bbq with recipes for a za'atar-marinated chicken and vegetables and cumin-scented ground lamb kebabs.

You can read the column and see those recipes here. Since it was my first, I think I overestimated the space I was allowed since the third recipe (for a pomegranate molasses bbq sauce) didn't make the cut. The sauce provided a wonderful sweet-sour tang when drizzled over the kebabs and chicken.

It is such a wonderful recipe (and was very popular, dinner guests were even eating it on their fruit salads) that I thought I would post it here.

A special thank you goes to Shelly Butcher of An Open Cupboard, who gave me a lot of background on Israeli grilling traditions and recipes.

Pomegranate Molasses BBQ Sauce
Makes about ½ cup

½ cup pomegranate molasses
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Mix well. Heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Pour into container or serving bowl and cool. Mixture will thicken as it cools. Serve with grilled meats and vegetables.
Update: For your convenience -- here are the other recipes mentioned in the post.

Herb Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
Serves 4

1 cup olive oil

1⁄4 cup lemon juice

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. za’atar seasoning mix (or 1 Tbs. ground oregano, 1⁄8 tsp. of cumin and 1⁄2 tsp. sesame seeds)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1⁄2 cup diced onion

4 zucchinis, each sliced lengthwise into 2 pieces

1 red onion cut into thick slices

2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded and each cut into fourths

8 small or 4 large chicken thighs on the bone (about 2 lbs.)

Combine oil, lemon juice, peppers, salt, za’atar, garlic and onion. Mix well. Marinate the vegetables in half of the marinade and the chicken in the other half. Marinate for about an hour, and then grill over a medium hot fire. Baste as needed with marinades, turning occasionally until vegetables are browned and soft and the chicken is cooked through with meat just turning opaque at the bone.

Lamb Kebabs
Serves 4

1 lb. ground lamb

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup minced onion

1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley

1⁄4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

1⁄4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1⁄4 tsp. salt

Mix all the ingredients well. Handling as lightly as possible, shape into 8 “sausage” shapes approximately 11⁄2 by 31⁄2 inches, or make 8 small patties. (Note: Traditionally these kebabs would be threaded on wide, flat metal skewers. I’ve adapted the recipe to cook them directly on the grill grate instead, but if you have the skewers, mold the meat into the sausage shape around them and cook as directed.)

Grill over a medium hot fire flipping occasionally until kebabs begin to feel firm and offer some resistance when touched. Cut into one to check for desired doneness. Grill longer if needed.


Joanne Rocklin said...

Loved the article. I happen to have all the spices, including za'atar. Please tell me where to get pomegranate molasses. Thanks! Joanne

FJKramer said...

You can find Pom. molasses is middle eastern stores, "kosher" markets, larger and speciality markets. Locally, try Oakland Kosher, Farmer Joe's, Berkeley Bowl or borrow some from me (I accidentally bought extra)!

Shelly said...

Mazal tov on the article! Your recipe sounds delicious...