• Shish Kebabs & Pilaf


A Moroccan-Inspired Grill

By Andrew Zimmern

Now that the unofficial start of summer has come and gone, it’s time to drag out the charcoal and light up the grill. Shish kebabs are one of my favorite things to grill, they’re easy to prepare and are perfect for feeding crowds. The key to flavorful, juicy morsels of meat is in the marinating, the longer the better. I love to serve these kebabs with a Chermoula pilaf, which has a flavor profile often seen in Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine, with cinnamon, crushed red pepper, raisins, almonds and tomatoes.

Shish Kebabs & Pilaf

Servings: 6 to 8

Total: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus overnight marinating


Shish Kebabs

  • 1 lb. cubed top sirloin, 1-inch cubes
  • 1 lb. cubed pork loin, 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Chermoula Pilaf

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads revived in 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slices
  • One 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 ounces canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


Shish Kebabs

Lightly toast the garlic, herbs and spices in a small pan over medium heat. When aromatic, pull from heat and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Take spice paste and combine with the oil and lemon juice.

Divide the marinade into two Ziploc bags. Place the pork cubes into one, the beef in another and toss meats well. Squeeze air out of the bags, seal and marinate overnight.

Cut the peppers and onions into small cubes (about one-inch squares).

Skewer the meat, alternating between the beef and pork cubes, the onions and peppers.

When finished skewering, season with salt and pepper and grill over high direct heat for a total of about 10 minutes, or roughly 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Your goal is to have the beef be medium rare and the pork medium (the difference in cube size helps this process).

Serve with a yogurt sauce, seasoned with mint, lime, garlic and cumin, and rice pilaf.

Yogurt Sauce

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Chermoula Pilaf 

Place the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. When oil is aromatic, add the rice, raisins, almonds, red pepper, chickpeas, cinnamon and onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, saffron in water, parsley and lemon zest. Stir. Add the stock, bring to simmer. Cover and lower heat to lowest setting and cook for 30 minutes (or until rice is completely cooked). Turn off heat and let rice rest covered. Stir, season and serve.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill. 

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