RECIPE BY MARK COCKCROFT
This festive dish gets its flavor from some unexpected ingredients. The beets, horseradish and blueberries may be a usual combination but the end results are unusually tasty. Sweet, but not overly so, and earthy with a hint of peppery bite, the sauce is great brushed on all sorts of meats destined for the grill. I like to serve a little on the side as well for an extra flavor boost.
It also makes a great sandwich spread for left over grilled meats and try mixing it with some mayo for a super punchy and colorful aioli.
- 2 packs (about 2 lbs) Maui Nui Venison Sirloin Steaks, trimmed of any silverskin and cut into 1-1/2” or so cubes
- 1-3/4 tsp fine sea salt, divided
- 2-1/2 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, canola, or grapeseed work well), divided plus some to lube the grill
- ¼ cup minced shallots (about 1 large or 2 small)
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ cup apple juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
- 3 large strips of orange zest
- 3 large strips of lemon zest
- 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup diced cooked and peeled beets
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
- 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
Place the cubed meat in a bowl and sprinkle all over with 1 tsp salt; set aside.
Add the 2 Tbsp oil to a medium sauce pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until just translucent (do not let it color); about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the cardamom and stir to incorporate. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring the paste into the shallots for a few minutes.
Add the apple juice and vinegar, honey, both zests, berries, beets, black pepper, and rosemary. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while. The sauce should thicken a bit. Meanwhile start your coals or fire up your gas grill to high.
When the sauce is finished simmering remove the strips of zest from the pan and carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Let cool for a few minutes while you make the kabobs. Thread the meat onto skewers as needed depending on the length of your skewers – about 8” skewers so that each person gets one whole kabob. Pat the kabobs dry with a paper towel and then brush them with the ½ Tbsp oil.
Remove the blender cap from the lid and place a towel over the opening. Blend the sauce mixture until super smooth. Pour about ½ cup into a bowl and the remaining sauce into another bowl.
Pour your coals into one half of the grill if using. Keep a space on a gas grill with one burner turned to low. Clean and lube the grill grates with a little oil on a folded up paper towel. You want a nice hot fire. Cook the kabobs on the hottest part of the grill for about 1 to 2 minutes on all 4 sides until richly browned and charred in a few spots.
Move the kabobs over to the cool side of the grill and carefully brush them all over with the ½ cup of sauce. Return the kabobs to the hot side of the grill and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so on each side so the sauce gets lightly caramelized but not burnt. The kabobs should be a nice blush pink inside at this point keeping them tender and juicy. Feel free to adjust the cooking time to your desired degree of doneness.
Let the kabobs rest for a few minutes and then serve with extra sauce and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary. Enjoy!