Paula learned how to make these herby, tangy skewers on an adventure in the Caucasus Mountains. The same marinade is also delicious with chicken thighs or extra-firm tofu. The onions are traditionally grated by hand, but the marinade comes together in seconds in a food processor. The onion-parsley salad is a classic kebab accompaniment Paula was taught by a master of kebabs, Burhan Çağdaş of Gaziantep, Turkey.—Emily Kaiser Thelin
Excerpted from Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade LifeSlideshow:More Pork Shoulder Recipes
1/2 cup (75 grams) coarsely chopped yellow onion (1/2 medium onion)
6 tablespoons (90 milliliters) water
4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) pomegranate concentrate (page 314 of book) or molasses
Burhan’s Onion-Parsley Salad (recipe follows), for serving
Grilled lemon halves, for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
In a food processor, combine the onion, 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the water, and 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate concentrate with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and process until pureed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the dill. Add the pork and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
About 1 hour before serving, thread the pork onto 4 metal skewers, each about 10 inches (25 cm) long (or thread the meat onto wood or bamboo skewers that have soaked in water for 1 to 2 hours); discard the marinade. Let the skewers stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Light a medium fire in a charcoal or gas grill, or position an oven rack about 5 inches (12.5 cm) from the heating element and preheat the broiler. Lightly oil the grill rack or oil the rack on a broiler pan.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) pomegranate concentrate and the remaining 2 tablespoons water.
Place the skewers on the grill rack directly over the fire, or on the broiler pan and slip under the broiler. Cook, turning the skewers occasionally, until the pork is cooked and charred at the edges but still juicy within, about 15 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, brush on a bit of the diluted pomegranate concentrate to glaze.
Serve the skewers with the remaining diluted pomegranate concentrate for dipping and accompany with the onion-parsley salad and grilled lemon halves (if using).
The pork marinates for at least overnight or up to 2 days.
Burhan’s Onion-Parsley Salad
Very thinly slice a small red onion; you should have about 1⁄2 cup (55 g). In a colander or sieve, toss the slices with 1⁄2 teaspoon flaky sea salt and then let stand for 5 minutes to soften and reduce the harshness. Rinse and drain well. Transfer the onion to a bowl and toss with 1⁄2cup (20 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and 1 teaspoon ground sumac. Serve within 30 minutes.
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