The best New Year’s Eve party I ever attended was a progressive graze of one appetizer after another all evening. When a dish came off the grill or out of the oven, we nibbled on it until we were ready for the next course. What a great vibe.
For my own offering that evening, I took inspiration from my favorite steakhouse ingredients — beef, mushrooms and bacon — and turned them into a sizzling steakhouse kebab. Because there is nothing as festive as food on a stick! And this kebab is extra special and easy. Because both the chunks of filet and the mushrooms are bathed in bacon fat as they cook, there is little that you need to do to the ingredients to make them taste spectacular.
For a dish as simple as this, buy the best possible raw ingredients. This steak recipe allows you to stretch two filets among six people, so you can afford to splurge on prime beef. I chose mushrooms because I love them and because they take about the same amount of time as filet to cook. But if you prefer, you could substitute cherry tomatoes or any of your favorite vegetables. If the vegetables take a lot longer to cook (such as potatoes), make sure that you partially cook them first.
Speaking of which, the secret to these kebabs is precooking the bacon. Since you want it to get crispy by the time the mushrooms and filet are done, you need to cook it just until the fat begins to render out, then use it to make the kebabs. As for the skewers, be sure to soak them in water so they won’t burn on the grill.
STEAKHOUSE KEBABS WITH MUSHROOMS AND BACON
Start to finish: 35 minutes
8 slices center-cut bacon
Two 10-ounce center cut filet mignons
18 large white mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
6 long bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Heat the grill to medium. Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Lay the bacon on the prepared baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes, or until the fat begins to render but the bacon is not fully cooked. Use tongs to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool. Once the bacon has cooled enough to handle, cut each strip crosswise into 4 pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cut each filet lengthwise into thirds, then cut each slice into thirds again to create 9 pieces from each. Brush the beef cubes with oil, then season lightly with salt. Set aside. Season the mushrooms with oil and salt, then set aside.
To assemble the kebabs, thread the beef and mushrooms onto skewers starting with a beef cube and placing a piece of bacon between each. Grill the assembled kebabs for 7 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time, or until the bacon is crispy and the mushrooms are marked and tender and the beef is cooked rare to medium-rare. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories; 140 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 70 mg cholesterol; 420 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 25 g protein.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pitmaster at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and author of three books, including “Taming the Flame.”