Here’s a typical meal for outdoor grilling with a couscous side dish made on the stovetop while the meat and vegetables are getting happy. If you are not a red meat eater, you can always switch out the beef for boneless, skinless chicken pieces. The dry-rub will work just as well on poultry.
The beef kebabs were 2″ cubes cut down from a 2-lb. top sirloin. The meat was tossed in a dry rub of ground up 1 Tbsp. mustard seed, 1 1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary and 1 tsp. kosher salt; then divided onto four metal skewers and put in the refrigerator, uncovered for eight hours.
It is best to use long metal skewers. If all you have are the wooden ones, make sure to soak them in water for an hour, and you may have to use several more because they are typically shorter than their metal counterparts.
Veggie skewers are a particular favorite of ours especially during the warmer months when we can grill outside. While the cocktail tomatoes (1 lb.) and mushroom caps (12 oz.) are left whole, the bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow) are cut into 2″ pieces, and the 2 red onions into 8 wedges each, with the root end intact. Make the marinade with 2⁄3 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano snipped from the garden.
Place the tomatoes and mushrooms in one ziploc, the onion and bell pepper in another, and divide the oil mixture between the two bags. Let marinate at least one hour, up to eight hours, turning each bag a couple of times.
While the grill is warming up—direct heat on one side, indirect on the other—skewer the veggies. Alternate the cocktail tomatoes and mushroom caps on three skewers; then the bell pepper and red onion on another 3 skewers. If you have any random veggies leftover, slide them onto a final skewer.
Put on direct heat side of grill for about 20 minutes, flipping once to char both sides, keeping the lid closed in between. The tomato skewers will get done first so move them over to the indirect heat side of grill. When the onion skewers are nicely charred, pile them up with the tomato skewers and now place the meat skewers on the direct heat and close the lid. The meat is medium-rare when it registers 125° with an instant-read thermometer, about 10-12 minutes.
Originally from Cook’s Illustrated, the couscous recipe called for three tablespoons of raisins, which we omitted. But curry powder, lime juice, and mint lent depth and brightness to the dish. All said and done, it takes about 15 minutes to make.
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp.)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 tsp.)
- ½ tsp. curry powder
- ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup plain or tri-colored couscous
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh mint, cilantro or parsley
- 1 ½ tsp. fresh lime juice
- Heat the oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the couscous and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Fold the mint (cilantro or parsley) and lime juice into the couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Couscous recipe adapted from one for Cook’s Illustrated