When I was a kid, fondue was a special family night. Mom would plug in the electric pot full of vegetable oil on the dining room table, as we grabbed for whichever long, two-tined fork was tipped in our favorite color. We cooked cubes of top sirloin in the hot fat, then dipped them into the homemade Béarnaise and burgundy sauces that Mom set out in small bowls.
I know fondue pots are a lost fashion of the 1970’s, but I have so many fond memories; like the time my godmother, Aunt Ali, served cheese fondue, and I spent the rest of the night throwing up. (Totally not her fault. It was an 8 year-old’s stomach bug. And the fondue was delicious!)
Whether at the end of a fork, skewered with wood for a party or metal for the grill, meat on a stick is one of those foods – like anything smothered in cheese or made with bacon – that leaves us clamoring for more. These kebabs, spicy with Tunisian Harissa – a paste of sun dried chills, sweet with brown sugar, rich with tomato paste and earthy with fresh thyme, are exotic but easy. Oh, and if your fork handles have colored tips, I’ll take the blue.
Top Sirloin Cherry Tomato Harissa Kebabs
- 6 tbs Harissa
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate vinegar* or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 quart cherry tomatoes
- 2 large green peppers cut in 2” pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak cut in 2” cubes (about 2 steaks)
*Pomegranate vinegar is back at Sapore (and it’s delicious!).
- Make marinade: Whisk together Harissa, brown sugar, tomato paste, red wine, Pomegranate vinegar, cinnamon, thyme and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix together tomatoes, peppers and steak and toss to coat with marinade. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- If using wooden skewers, soak them for an hour before grilling.
- Load skewers with beef, tomatoes, and peppers.
- Prepare a hot grill and cook over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side, about 8-10 minutes total for medium rare.
- While grilling, place remaining marinade, and any extra tomatoes, in a small saucepan and cook at a high simmer until thickened.
- Brush cooked kebabs with sauce and serve.