|Photo credits to Flickr and Peter PZ|
According to an article by the SF Gate titled The Disadvantages of a diet with less meat written by Aglaee Jacob argues that eating less meat can leave you iron deficient, cause lack of satiety, zinc and cholesterol. Although I know you can easily solve these problems by taking vitamin supplements, but nothing beats eating meat. I think as long as we eat meat in moderation, not too much and not too little we will be healthy. We need to find a happy balance. Although I also think people should cut down on our meat consumption I don't think we need to eliminate it completely at least in retrospect to health. Meat does have some positive benefits. I think we can easily eat a healthy diet as long as we eat a balanced meal so by not just eating meat, but eating veggies, fruits, carbs, etc we can be healthy. Shashlyk is a good way to get to a meat lover's heart while still having some nutritional value by adding lots of veggies on the skewers.
Every Eastern European country makes it differently, but they all have the same principle of BBQ meat and veggies. I have a lot of fond memories of my dad, neighbors, and family friends making them. They are usually made for parties, picnics and get togethers. Whenever we go over to our neighbor's house that are Armenian they always prepare shashlyk for us. The whole house and back yard smells like barbecue meat and smoke. I can always smell either my neighbors barbecuing or we are barbequing shashlyk. SO DELICIOUS! I can just imagine the barbeque fumes right now!
Shashlyk is eaten all over the country. This skewer of lamb, beef or pork is an important part of the Russian menu. Shashlyk can be made with a variety of meats, vegetable and marianades so it is up to you to find out which one you like best by experimenting with different flavors. I promise you though you can have fun with this recipe and make it different every time. It is very hard to mess up other than overcooking it. Nowadays Shashlyk doesn’t just refer to meat, but you can add pieces of fish or even vegetable put on an iron bar and cooked over an open fire. It is traditionally enjoyed outside in a backyard or at a park and traditionally can be accompanied with a special Pomegranate sauce, flat bread, then a salad or pickled garnish.
It is extremely essential to prepare and cook shashlyk right to ensure it is yummy and tender. If you overcook it, it will be harder than a shoe and way too chewy. But the Russians have had many years of practice and perfect making shashlyk.
According to RT Russianpedia Of Russian Origins: Shashlyk, it states that the origins of shashlyk it states that come from " the Caucasian Mountain tribesmen and became popular after the conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century. This was when the region started becoming romanticized by the likes of Pushkin, Lermontov and Byron. Russian and European travelers then began to flock to the area and almost every memoir notes the delicacy of the shashlyk. Its importance in daily Russian cuisine is highlighted in Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita when an order is made for One Karsky Shashlyk!" Shashlyk have an interesting origins and now have a prevenlant importance to Russian cuisine today.
A basic recipe includes:
- 1 lb Any kind of meat cubes- (beef, chicken, sausage, pork, veal, lamb, fish, goat, etc...)
- Chopped 5 or 6 onion make sure you cut them so you can put them on a skewer
- chopped bell pepper the same size as above
- Cherry tomatoes
- Salt, pepper, and herbs(oregano, thyme, basil etc..)
- vinegar to soften the meat
A Georgian recipe includes:
- 1 lb of Veal cubed or ground
- double the amount of onions as meat so about 5 or 6
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- dried spices like cumin, coriander seeds, Oregano, or basil
- Chili flakes
- apple vinegar
Pork Shashlyk in Kefir Marinade
- 1 lb lean pork, cubed or ground
- 5 onions
- 1 cup of kefir (its like a Russian thick yogurt)
- You can find it in the dairy section of your local supermarket usually or you can go find your closest European supermarket and they should have it in the dairy section.
- salt, pepper, other spices to taste
***If you have a marinade, marinade it over night or at least for several hours. For the marinades add all the ingredients listed on the meat in the recipe and let marinade.
- Get the barbeque going get it hot!
- Gather all your ingredients and get out all your skewers you will be using.
- On one skewer, add the meat, onion and veggies and repeat until full but so it has room and nothing is falling on either side.
- Then place the skewers carefully on the grill.
- Flip the skewers every couple minutes so they don't burn or overcook.