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Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Breads in Cherry Sauce

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

The pistachio lamb kebabs I posted earlier has been a big hit and I have been experimenting a little more with these delicious treats. They are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. They kebabs are wonderful when chargrilled in summer time, but equally delicious grilled or baked in the oven. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

This time, during my recent Turkish cookery class, I prepared the kebabs in cherry and tomato based sauce. Cooking meatballs in (especially) sour cherry sauce is a Gaziantep specialty. This way of incorporating meat & fruit dates back to the Ottoman, Persian and medieval Arab cookery. The sweet & sour combination of meat and visne (sour cherries) is just marvelous. You can get frozen cherries in most supermarkets when they are not in season. If you’d like a stronger cherry flavor, also try dried cherries, like dear Claire did after our cookery class. Apparently  it was a delicious hit. I greatly look forward to trying out this recipe again when sour cherries are in season, in June-July time.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 35 minutes               Cooking time: 60 minutes

For the kebabs:

500 gr/1 ¼ lb. / 2 ¼ cups ground lamb (or half and half with ground beef)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

60ml/4 tbsp pistachios, shelled

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

5ml/1 tsp red pepper or paprika flakes;

5ml/ 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

A bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil to help shape the kebabs

For the cherry & tomato sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped

400gr/14oz can of chopped Italian tomatoes

½ tbsp. red pepper paste

400gr/14oz frozen cherries, stones removed

15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

For the roasted vegetables: 3 colorful bell peppers, deseeded and cut in thick slices lengthways and a few chilli peppers deseeded, OR 10-12 sweet and chilli small, colorful peppers, cut in half lengthways and deseeded

4 medium tomatoes, halved and cut in chunky slices

1 medium onion, halved and cut in chunky slices

45ml/ 3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large flat bread; pide, or 4 pitta bread, sliced lengthways

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs - make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs – make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

First roast your vegetables. Place the onion, peppers and tomatoes in a baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil over, season with salt and pepper. Give them all a good mix to make sure all the vegetables are coated with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, giving them a mix half way. I like to roast the vegetables rather than grilling, to save and enjoy all the wonderful juices of them over the flat bread.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the kebabs. First have a bowl of water, drizzled with olive oil ready aside, to knead and help shape the kebabs. Pulse the shelled pistachios in a food processor a few times, until it is grainy. Place the ground lamb in a bowl, stir in the pistachios, chopped onions, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and ground pepper, add the red pepper flakes. Wet your hands in the water & olive oil mixture and knead well to a smooth paste. Cover and rest for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are roasted in the oven.

Once the vegetables chargrilled, take the tray out of the oven, cover  and set aside (you may need to warm the vegetables before serving).

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Now start shaping the kebabs. With the bowl of water & olive oil mixture by your side, take a handful of the meat mixture, and make it into a shape of a flat sausage. Good tip; wet your hands with the water & olive oil mixture; this will help shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

As soon as the kebabs are shaped, you can cook them under the grill/broiler for about 6 -8 minutes, turning over half way until they are golden and cooked through that side (this method especially great for summer.) Alternatively, you can lay the kebabs side by side in a greased tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked and chargrilled.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

While the kebabs are cooking, prepare the cherry & tomato sauce. In a heavy pan, sauté the onions in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper paste, chopped tomatoes and cherries to the pan and combine well. Season with salt and ground pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickened.

While the sauce is simmering, place the sliced flat bread on a tray and put in the preheated oven (180 C/350 F) to warm up. Also at this stage place the roasted vegetables and kebabs back to the oven to keep warm.

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap
Time to enjoy the feast; lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

How about serving the kebabs with this sautéed carrot &  garlic yoghurt dip? This refreshing and mild dip complements the rich flavors of the pistachio kebabs beautifully.

IMG_0126

Sauteed carrots in olive oil with garlic yoghurt

I hope these recipes inspire you all; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Responses to Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Breads in Cherry Sauce

  1. BacktoBodrum March 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Yum – I was looking for inspiration for a dish to serve to old friends – cherry and tomato sauce sounds delicious.

    • Ozlem Warren March 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Merhaba, glad you liked it – the cherry & tomato sauce really refreshens up the rich flavors of the kebab, a good complement, hope you enjoy it with your friends:)

  2. Phil in the Kitchen March 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    That’s a lovely-looking meal. The cherries in the sauce are definitely new to me – it sounds like a delicious idea. Frozen cherries are good, of course, but I always look forward to picking some fresh cherries in the summer – assuming that we get a summer, of course.

    • Ozlem Warren March 20, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      Hi Phil, thanks for stopping by – I know what you mean, I greatly look forward to our summer (I hope) and have a chance to experiment this recipe with fresh cherries – in the meantime, the frozen ones will do for me – glad you enjoyed it : )

  3. zerrin March 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Never had kebab with cherry in its sauce. These look so good! Wish I could join one of your classes! I love cherries in any form, so I must try it when cherries are in season here!

    • Ozlem Warren March 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Merhaba Zerrin, thank you so much for stopping by – having cherries in the kebabs is a Gaziantep speciality, you can imagine the flavorful fresh cherries in the season, with their punchy flavor; I too look forward to the fresh cherry season! Selamlar, Ozlem

  4. Mariette March 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Mjummie, going to give that a go. Take the stress out of cooking…. Thanks form http://www.facebook.com/DrDeStress

    • Ozlem Warren March 21, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks Mariette : ) cooking is certainly a relaxing experience, and seeing folks appreciate what you cook for them is a wonderful gift, glad you will give this one a go!

  5. Peri's Spice Ladle March 21, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    Your lamb and pistachio kebabs are always so amazing and the tomato sauce is a wonderful combination. I do like the cherries being added to it…very interesting flavor mix! So excited you’re coming to the Austin CM! Got my fingers crossed I can make the short trip to be with you:) xxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren March 21, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Thank you Peri – the cherries bring another dimension and a pleasant refreshing taste to the kebabs, worth a go – so greatly look forward to coming back to Austin Cm, so greatly look forward to seeing you! : ) Ozlem xx

  6. Turkey's For Life March 21, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    I love the idea of the cherries in this sauce Ozlem. Good luck for your class in Austin, later in the year. That’s DEFINITELY one we won’t be able to make. 😉
    Julia

    • Ozlem Warren March 21, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Merhaba Julia, thanks for stopping by – I think you will enjoy the cherries in the sauce, and I am sure you’ll get some great cherries in Fethiye soon : ) Austin is a special place for us, (one of our homes!!) greatly look forward to going back.

  7. Susan March 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Oh, Ozlem! I so wish you could come to Santa Barbara or Los Angeles! I would love to meet you & take one of your classes!

    Everything you make looks so fresh & delicious! I’m so curious about the addition of cherries to your sauce.

    • Ozlem Warren March 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Thank you Susan, I greatly wish our paths cross too – hope soon 🙂 hopefully one day perhaps in gorgeous Santa Barbara or LA : ) Try this especially when the cherries are in season; the flavors complement so beautifully and cherries add a great punchy refreshing taste : )

  8. laurasmess March 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Ozlem, your dishes look so amazing. I love, love, LOVE Turkish food and I experiment as much as I can… I think that your blog will be my new favourite source of food inspiration! Wish that I could take one of your classes. Maybe next time I travel over to the UK 😉 Thanks for sharing your beautiful creations with us!

    • Ozlem Warren March 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      What a kind comment Laura, thank you so much for taking the time right; it is a pleasure to share and I am over the moon that you are enjoying the recipes and that they inspire:) please let me know if I can help out further – afiyet olsun 🙂

  9. Julie March 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I am so intrigued by these flavours. Will definitely have to try this recipe. That’s exciting news about your cooking classes. I am about 2 hours from Austin with a sister who lives very close to the Central Market you will be teaching at. I would love to come to the class, but it may be difficult since it falls during Ramadan. Either way, welcome back to Texas.

    • Ozlem Warren March 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

      Dear Julie, thank you for stopping by, so glad the recipe inspired – the sauce complements the kebabs really well, I hope you enjoy it. Oh, I would be delighted to have a chance to have you at the class, if you can, will keep the fingers crossed. Thank you for the good wishes, look forward to being back to Texas!

  10. Hiba Sabbah September 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Hi dear
    Love this idea do u cook tomatoes then you add the cherries n how long do you cook them
    Thanks
    Hiba

    • Ozlem Warren September 12, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hello Hiba, thank you for your note; yes you first cook the onions and chopped tomatoes then stir in cherries, all in the recipe. Hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun!

  11. cali November 2, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    Hi Ozlem

    If we bake the kebabs in the oven for 25 min do we turn it to broil or a different temperature?

    Thanks!

    • Ozlem Warren November 2, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

      Merhaba Cali,yes you can broil for 25 minutes or bake in the preheated oven 200 C/400 F for 35 to 40 mins. Hope you enjoy it!

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