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(Ground Beef Kabab)

Frrom Pari Ardalan Malek's Joy of Persian Cooking: Persian-American Cuisine (2000, Abjad Book Designers and Builders).

l pound ground lamb or beef
1 medium chopped onion
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 sliced bread, soaked in water and squeezed
20 cherry tomatoes
2 whole lavash breads (flat bread, found in Middle Eastern stores)
1 tablespoon dried tarragon (optional)

1. In a food processor, blend meat and onions for 30 seconds.
2. In a bowl, mix meat, onion and all remaining ingredients, except for tomatoes and bread. Knead thoroughly and chill for 1 hour.
3. Using a small handful of the meat mixture, squeeze the mixture around a skewer, corn-dog style, securing the mixture by pinching it to the skewer at both ends.
4. Place skewers on grill, turning quickly as each side cooks to keep the meat from falling off the skewer.
5. When you have turned the skewers once, grill skewered tomatoes alongside ground beef kababs.
6. Grill beef kababs until meat is done (about 20 minutes), turning regularly.
7. When all kababs are done, place one whole lavash bread on a serving platter, then place kababs on top of bread. Cover with the second piece of Lavash bread.
8. Press down on the top piece of bread gently with one hand to hold skewers in place, then slide skewers out of kababs with the other hand.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Makes 7 skewers of kabab

Note: For oven-baked kababs, line a cookie sheet with foil, then spread with meat mixture, making sure the mixture covers the entire cookie sheet and even out the top of the mixture. With a sharp knife, cut the mixture into 1 1/2 inch wide strips. Broil 8 minutes, then use knife to go over the cuts you made earlier. Carefully turn each strip and broil another 8 minutes. Arrange on serving platter, sprinkle with sumac and serve. Kabab is traditionally served with chelo (steamed white rice) or with lavash flat bread and fresh basil, mint, scallions and radishes.

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