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Tas Kebab

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From the name “Tas Kebab”, it’s easy to state this isn’t a Greek-specific dish – a dish enjoyed in the Levant and its made it’s way to the Greek table via Asia Minor Greeks who resettled in mainland Greece over time. Traditionally Tas Kebab is made with lamb but I’ve often seen beef used in this dish.

Easter is almost upon us and Tas Kebab is a wonderful dish to make with that gnarly, tougher cut of lamb shoulder. The closest beef equivalent would be chuck – both types meat with muscle and fat and benefiting from a slow-cooking process. The sauce turns reddish-brown from the meat which also absorbs the onion, tomato and flavour of the spices.

I like cutting the meat into smaller cubes so that I get more flavour out of each bite from the browning step at the beginning. The meat short be fork-tender and sauce thick. The aroma in your kitchen will have you tasting the sauce as the allspice and bay leaves waft through the air. A rice pilaf works well as a side or a garlic-mashed potato as I’ve offered here.

Tas Kebab (Τας Κεμπάπ)

(serves 4)

1 kg. of lamb shoulder (or chuck beef) cut into small cubes

fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper

all-purpose flour

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions, passed through a box grater

carrot, peeled and passed through a box grater

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 Tbsp. sweet paprika

3 bay leaves

2-3 dried chillis

5-6 allspice berries

2 cups grated fresh tomatoes (or canned)

2 cups hot water

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. dried Greek oregano

  1. Rinse your meat and pat-dry. Season with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour then place your skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil and once hot, add the meat in batches and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the grated onions, paprika, peppers, chillies, carrots and sweat while stirring, lifting any brown bits for about 6-7 minutes. Now add the tomato sauce, water, bay and allspice berries and bring up to a boil.
  3. Now add the reserved meat and once aboil, add some salt and pepper and slightly cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 90 minutes. Remove the lid, taste and adjust seasoning and simmer uncovered until the sauce is thick and meat is fork-tender (about another 10-15 minutes. Add oregano and stir in.
  4. Serve with a garlic-mashed potatoes and pair with an Alpha Estate Axia Red.