Marinated Turkey Kebabs
I was surprised by the number of times people would tell me, in food conversations I had in Azerbaijan, how much they loved turkey kebabs. I had never eaten turkey this way before, but it’s a big thing in Azerbaijan. And now that I’ve made it at home for friends, we all agree that it’s our favorite way to cook and eat turkey. Even the breast meat is succulent and full of flavor.
The turkey marinates briefly in verjuice or vinegar with grated onion and sumac, and then is gently grilled and sprinkled with more sumac and with salt. Use boneless leg meat (my preference) or breast meat, whichever you prefer, or a mixture.
Serve with rice, flatbreads, and a salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as an Herb Plate and Pomegranate-Coriander Sauce or Green Ajika.
3 pounds deboned turkey cut into large (1½-inch) chunks
2 medium onions, grated (½ cup or more)
¼ cup verjuice or cider vinegar or rice vinegar
About 1 tablespoon sumac, separated
About ¼ cup sunflower oil or substitute olive oil
About 2 teaspoons salt
Three hours before you wish to grill, rinse off the turkey pieces with cold water, pat dry, and set aside in a large bowl. Add the grated onion, the verjuice or vinegar, and 1 teaspoon sumac. Stir and turn to expose all surfaces of the turkey to the marinade. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator to marinate for a couple of hours, or as long as 5 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat a charcoal or gas grill; you want a moderate heat. Put out a brush, a bowl of oil, and the sumac and salt.
Slide the turkey pieces onto skewers, leaving a small space between each piece. Brush lightly with oil and place on the grill. Sprinkle on a little salt. Grill slowly, turning the skewers frequently. Partway through cooking, sprinkle on sumac generously, and more salt.
When the meat is cooked through, remove from the grill, slide the meat off the skewers, and heap it onto a platter so guests can help themselves.
CLASSIC ONTARIO BUTTER TARTS
Makes 12 large open-faced tarts
Everyone who grew up in Ontario, as I did, takes butter tarts for granted. Only when we travel further afield do we discover they’re a regional specialty.
1 ½ pounds pastry (recipe below)
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar, or substitute rice vinegar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons Lyle’s golden syrup or maple syrup
Place a rack in the center of the oven, top it with a baking stone or a large baking sheet, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place one 12-cup muffin tins or two 6-cup muffin tins near your work surface. Lightly butter them.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Cut the pastry in half and set half aside. Roll out the other half to a rectangle about 16 inches long and 6 inches wide. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out six 3 ½-inch rounds, staggering them down the length of the dough. Place a round in pone of the depressions in the muffin tin, fitting it gently into the cup; the pastry will come only partway up the sides of the cup. Place the remaining rounds in the tin and then roll out the remaining dough, cut rounds, and fill the remaining spaces in the tin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes or more while you make the filling.
Combine the sugar, salt, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla in a bowl and stir to mix well. Pour in the melted butter and stir. Add the syrup and stir until blended.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each tart shell (you may have a little extra filling left over.)
Place the muffin tins on the baking stone or baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the crusts are lightly golden in spots. The filling will bubble up and rise into a mound as it bakes; once the tarts are pout of the oven, the filling will subside to make a level top surface. Use a large spoon to lift the baked tarts out of the tins and onto a rack to cool and firm up before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 3 pounds; use half for the butter tarts
5 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups lard or vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ to ½ cup cold water
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bow and stir to mix well, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. Cut in the lard or shortening to make an evenly moistened mixture that resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the eggs and vinegar, add ¼ cup cold water, and mix. This may be enough to moisten the dough so that it can be pulled together, but if not, add a little more cold water. When the dough just comes together pull it into a mass.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and cut it into two pieces. Place each in a heavy plastic bag, seal well, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.