Grilled Beef, Apricot and Red Onion Kabobs with Fresh Tomato Salad

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

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Grilled Beef, Apricot & Red Onion Kabobs with Fresh Tomato Salad

To be honest with you, I didn’t know whether to call these Kabobs or the Afrikaans word for the actual dish, “Sosaties.” Growing up in South Africa, we ate these marinated Beef Sosaties with apricots and red onion frequently, but they were particularly popular in the Winter months where there was an abundance of dried apricots or peaches from the previous harvest season. As a South African, grilling over an open flame is always my choice for preparing our favorite cuts of beef, even if it’s snowing outside! However, these skewers can be grilled indoors as well during cooler months and I’ll share some tips below to make that easy. However you choose to grill your beef, this cooking method provides maximum flavor and optimal tenderness! Serve it with a no-cook fresh tomato salad and call it dinner!

Why is grilling so effective?

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below or from the side. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Because of this, the beef is allowed to caramelize very quickly in a process known as the Maillard reaction, without drying out during the cooking process. This ensures that delicious grilled beef flavor that we all love.

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What are the best cuts of beef for grilling?

When time is of the essence, I love to use Filet Mignon or Strip Steak because I know it’ll be tender without the need to marinate. Typically, more tender cuts like Filet Mignon requires anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to marinate, while less tender cuts like Flank Steak should be marinated for 6 hours, but no more than 24 hours. When I have more time to spare, Flank Steak and Top Sirloin are great choices. I’ve used Top Sirloin in my recipe today. 

Marinate your beef and place in a drip-proof airtight container and place on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator right before assembly and cooking. When in doubt about which cut to use and the cooking temperatures required for the thickness of your cuts, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. website is a very useful resource. 

Grilling Indoors:

Use a cast iron skillet or griddle pan. Cast iron heats up faster and will brown your beef quicker, just be sure to oil it well to prevent sticking. My marinade has oil in it, so the likelihood of these skewers sticking is low.

Turn the stovetop off immediately after cooking and carefully slide the griddle pan off the heat source.

Rest the kabobs just as you would when cooking outside. I don’t think we actively think about resting when grilling outside because most of the time we are preparing the table or side dishes. Be sure to rest for at least 5 minutes to prevent those juices from draining onto your plate. 

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Grilled Beef, Apricot & Red Onion Kabobs
Prep Time:
30 minutes Cook Time:  10-15 minutes  Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 beef Top Sirloin Steak Center Cut, Boneless (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons garlic paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dried apricots, soaked in water for 1 hour
1 cup cubed red onion

Tomato Salad:
4 medium heirloom tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into wedges
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1/4 cup reserved marinade
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup freshly torn basil leaves

Guidelines:

Cut beef into 1-1/4-inch pieces and place in a food-safe plastic bag. Add salt and pepper; toss to coat. In a small bowl, add olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic paste, vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs. Whisk until combined then pour 3/4 of the marinade over the beef. Toss to coat, seal and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Reserve remaining marinade by storing it separately in the refrigerator. 

Soak six 9-inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Thread beef, onion and apricots evenly onto skewers. Preheat a cast iron griddle pan over medium-high heat.

Place kabobs in griddle pan and cook for 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and tent loosely with foil to rest while preparing the tomato salad.

Tomato Salad:
Place tomatoes and spinach on a platter; season with smoked sea salt and red pepper flakes. Whisk reserved marinade and honey until combined, pour over tomatoes right before serving with fresh basil and kabobs. 

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Sunday Afternoon Samoosas

Though many versions of this dish exist, beef or chicken samoosas filled with traditional spices are most popular in the Cape Malay communities of South Africa. They are served at parties or anywhere that people gather, and often with peach chutney. The sweetness of the chutney paired with crispy spiced beef parcels keep people coming for more. You can buy South African chutney online now, as well as most of the spices used. Traditionally,  pur or readymade Indian pastry is used. Pur is a common item at any Indian grocery store, but I could only find phyllo pastry where I live. Both work wonderfully.

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I remember my mom frying samoosas last December when I visited home for the first time in eight years. Making them in large batches (necessary during holiday season) is time consuming, so she had ordered 250 premade but unfinished from a lady who is well-known for her samoosas. Every town has that Aunty - One who has perfected the art of samoosas, savory pies or smaller confections like lamingtons. Those aunties are a godsend for people like my mom who work full-time. If you do not order by November, you can forget about it because they are that popular. The fragrant aroma of coriander and leaf masala filling our house during the holidays is always magical. Mom knew how much I had missed samoosas while living here in the states, and 250 seems like a lot, but we enjoyed them so much almost every day. If only I could've brought some back with me!

When I returned home to Mississippi in January I was inspired to make them here and shared the image to Instagram, but never made the recipe available. I'm sorry for the wait :) We booked our tickets back to Cape Town the other day and thinking of all the samoosas I'll soon be eating, I remembered. You can substitute the beef with ground chicken thighs or even lamb - I just wanted to share how I make mine, but feel free to change it up as you wish :) 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin or lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon South African curry powder OR mixed masala
1/4 cup finely minced fresh coriander
1 teaspoon each sugar and salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 sheets phyllo pastry (You may need more depending on how much filling added)
1 small egg, beaten (to seal pastry)
olive oil spray
Optional to serve: Peach Chutney 
 

Filling:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add ground sirloin until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and spices and sauté until onions are golden and soft. Finish the filling by adding coriander, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Stir and remove from heat - Allow to cool. Can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge and assembled later. 

Preheat oven to 375F.

Assembly:
Place phyllo on a clean, dry surface and use a sharp knife to divide phyllo rectangle into three parts lengthways. You should have three equal long stacks of pastry. Take one at a time and cover the remaining sheets with a clean damp kitchen towel so that they don't dry out. 

Lay the phyllo strip on a work surface and add a tablespoonful of filling to the top corner, then fold the filled pastry across to close the open side. Keep folding from one edge to the other, keeping the triangular shape and making sure the corners are tight, until you're left with a lip. Brush it with the beaten egg and secure. Alternatively you could make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cake flour and 2 tablespoons water to do this. If you prefer, you could also just cut this portion off. Set finished samoosa aside on a baking sheet covered with a clean damp kitchen towel and repeat this process with all phyllo pastry sheets. Makes 30 - These freeze very well in an airtight container and then you can bake it off later. 

Spray with olive oil spray and bake for 8 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serve immediately.