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Shashlik: Russian and Baltic Grilled Meat Skewers

Shashlik is a popular dish in Russia and the Baltic states, similar to shish kebab. It is typically made with pork, beef, or lamb, marinated in a flavorful blend that often includes a generous amount of onions. These skewers are then grilled to perfection, resulting in juicy, aromatic meat.

Shashlik: Russian and Baltic Grilled Meat Skewers

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:

1.5 lbs pork shoulder, beef, or lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large onions, finely grated or very thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf, crushed
Bamboo or metal skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning)

For Serving:

Fresh herbs (parsley, dill, or cilantro)
Lemon wedges
Sliced fresh vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers)
Flatbread or lavash

Instructions:

Prepare the Marinade:

In a large bowl, combine the grated or thinly sliced onions, olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic, thyme, dill (if using), ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, black pepper, salt, and crushed bay leaf. Mix well to combine.

Marinate the Meat:

Add the meat cubes to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.

Skewer the Meat:

Thread the marinated meat onto the soaked bamboo skewers, leaving a little space between each piece to ensure even cooking.

Preheat the Grill:

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are hot and have a white ash coating.

Grill the Shashlik:

Brush the grill grates with a little oil to prevent sticking. Place the skewers on the grill.
Grill for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and has a nice char.

Serve:

Remove the shashlik from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes.
Serve the shashlik with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, and sliced fresh vegetables. Accompany with flatbread or lavash.

Tips:

Tips:

Meat Alternatives: Chicken can be used instead of pork, beef, or lamb.
Onion Variations: You can add some onion slices directly to the skewers for extra flavor.
Marinade Variations: Experiment with different herbs and spices to suit your taste.

Wine Pairing:

Pair your shashlik with a robust red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or a medium-bodied white wine like Chardonnay, depending on the type of meat used.

Enjoy your homemade Shashlik, a delicious and aromatic dish that brings the flavors of Russia and the Baltic region to your table. Perfect for grilling and sharing with friends and family!

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