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Madeira Beef and Bay Leaf Kebabs (Espetada)

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“The classic preparation of this dish—the beef is grilled on special metal skewers with eyelets at the end, then brought to the table and hung with great ceremony from an L-shaped pole, over a bowl piled with Portuguese bread. The meat juices from the kebabs drip onto the bread, which is thought of as much a delicacy as the meat. Unless you are a skilled welder, you will not be able to duplicate this arrangement at home. Solution—serve the kebabs on a platter lined with sliced Portuguese bread. Steven Raichlen.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Trim any sinews or excess fat from the beef; cut meat into 2-inch cubes.
  2. In a large baking dish, combine the oil, vinegar, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.
  3. Add in the beef and toss thoroughly to coat.
  4. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
  5. Preheat grill to high.
  6. Remove the beef and bay leaves from the marinade and thread onto the skewers dividing the bay leaves among the kebabs.
  7. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate.
  8. Arrange the kebabs on the grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the meat is cooked to taste, 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  9. Baste the espetadas with any excess marinade, but not during the last 3 minutes.
  10. Serve the espetadas on or off the skewers on slices or chunks or Portuguese bread for soaking up the juices.

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