Thursday, July 1, 2010

The humble Spiedie

Summertime and Spiedies go hand in hand in The Binghamton area of NY and throughout Central NY. They are a favorite of our family and extended family. My first exposure to them was many years ago at a family friend's house; those were venison spiedies and I was in love. Kerrie's family is from the Binghamton area and grew up with them so it was a natural thing for us to start making them and sharing them with our kids.

Spiedies can be made with any meat, but the recipe is the same no matter the protein. This particular batch is lamb, I use a boneless leg of lamb trimmed of most fat and cut into 3/4- inch cubes (or thereabouts).

This recipe came from Kerrie's Uncle and is modeled on the recipe from Lupo's Char Pit:

4 lbs of meat
1/3 cup oil plus more for coating the meat
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup of lemon juice
2 Tbsp Garlic powder
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp Mint
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

Cut the meat into pieces about 3/4-inch; you can go bigger or smaller just try to keep them uniform. You could also just use boneless chicken breast halves or pork chops; they make a great sandwich.

Coat meat with oil and set aside in your non-reactive marinating vessel of choice. I have said enough about the Tupperware marinator, I will leave it alone this time. A Ziploc bag will work just fine.

Whisk or mix together all the other ingredients and pour over the meat, mix well to coat and put it in the fridge a minimum of 24 hours, 48-72 is better. After the meat has marinated, put it on skewers (metal is tradition, bamboo works fine, just remember to soak them) and grill. It won't take long on the grill to get them right. Usually the cubes are too small to use a thermometer for an accurate reading so you have to wing it a bit. For chicken or pork use a sharp knife to cut open one of the cubes in the middle of the skewer and check for doneness. 10 minutes or so should be about right.

Spiedies are served with fresh Italian bread or Italian submarine rolls, they should be served hot off the grill and you use the roll or bread as an oven mitt to pull the meat off the skewer. That is why I like metal better than bamboo, it slides off the skewer easier. DO NOT USE CONDIMENTS OR ANY OTHER TOPPINGS. It's just sacrilege. Spiedies, sweet corn, salt potatoes and a green salad make for a wonderful (and Central NY centric) meal.

If you are traveling with spiedies, I recommend skewering them before you leave the house. Standing around in a park or campground skewering spiedies and figuring out where to wash your hands and not make everyone sick is not a good time. In this case I would say go for the bamboo skewers as they can be trimmed a bit or set at an angle they will fit right on the lip of your Tupperware marinator, oh wait I wasn't going to talk about that anymore.

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