* Purdue University Residences

June 28, 2007

Purdue chef recommends bringing gourmet to the grill

Summer meals
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Purdue University chef Grace Brutsman says backyard grillers have plenty of options beyond ground beef and bratwursts this summer.

The former steakhouse owner said alternatives such as London broil and lamb kebabs, with a touch of prior preparation, can result in surprisingly affordable gourmet meals.

"Marinating these meats for as little as two hours will result in a tender, tasty treat your family or guests will find too tempting to resist," said Brutsman. "Turkey can soak in flavor even faster, making it an interesting alternative to chicken or beef."

Brutsman said London broil, typically available in one- or two-pound cuts, is the most tender cut from the round. She rubs her meat the night before grilling with three or four tablespoons and refrigerates it overnight in a plastic bag. Same-day preparation should occur at least two hours before grilling.

Brutsman cooks the meat for five minutes on a preheated grill. Then she flips it and cooks it until reaching the desired internal temperature of 120 degrees to 145 degrees. Letting the meat "rest" off the grill for another 5 to 10 minutes will raise the internal temperature by another 10 degrees to 15 degrees.

"The meat should always be sliced very thin and served hot," Brutsman said. "Remember to always cut across the grain of the meat."

The same preparation can be used for boneless sirloin tips.

When preparing lamb kebabs, Brutsman cuts two pounds of meat into about 20 one-and-one-half-inch cubes. She marinades the meat overnight in a mixture of minced garlic, rosemary, thyme leaves, red wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt and, optionally, red wine.

Prior to grilling, she threads three or four pieces of lamb on a skewer, alternating large pieces of red onion between pieces of meat. She recommends threading other skewers entirely with grape tomatoes, piercing them through the stem. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle both sides of all skewers with salt and pepper.

"Soaking wood skewers for 30 minutes in warm water will help prevent them from burning or breaking," Brutsman said. "Brushing the grill with oil will prevent the meat from sticking."

She recommends cooking the lamb for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating at least twice, until the meat reaches 145 degrees. Tomatoes need to be cooked about five minutes and turned once to ensure they are seared on the outside but firm in the middle.

Brutsman said her "Grilled Italian Turkey Breast" is even simpler to prepare.  She puts one thawed turkey breast skin side up in two inches of boiling water in a covered pan. Once water resumes a boil, she lowers the heat  to simmer for about 30 minutes until meat reaches 150 degrees. When she removes the turkey, she marinates it in a shallow dish with two cups of Italian dressing, turning every 15 minutes until ready to grill.

Brutsman said side dishes can add flair, as well. She recommends her "Salad with a Crunch" to accompany poultry. It includes a head of broccoli and a head of romaine lettuce cut into bite-sized pieces, mixed with one bunch of chopped green onions or one thinly sliced red onion. The crunch comes from broken Ramen noodles, sunflower seeds and almonds toasted on a baking tray in melted butter with Ramen seasoning mixed in.

Brutsman cooks these toppings for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring every five minutes, then mixes in the toasted ingredients. She immediately tops the salad with a cold dressing made of one cup of salad oil, one cup of sugar, a half-cup of cider vinegar and three tablespoons of soy sauce.

Brutsman says couscous with pine nuts is a good alternative to potatoes and pasta and goes well with lamb. She melts four tablespoons of unsalted butter in a pan, adds three or four chopped shallots and cooks for three minutes over medium heat. Then she adds three cups of chicken stock and one half teaspoon each of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Once it is back to a boil, she turns off the heat, adds one and a half cups of couscous, stirs thoroughly, covers the pan and sets it aside for 10 minutes.  Then she adds a half-cup of pine nuts, a quarter cup of dried currants, two tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, fluffs it all with a fork and serves it hot.

Brutsman is a member of a team of chefs who design and execute menus at University Residences dining facilities. She supervises meal preparation at Hillenbrand Hall's dining court.

Writer: Jim Schenke, (765) 494-6262,

Source: Grace Brutsman, (765) 494-6060,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Full recipes are available by contacting Jim Schenke at Purdue News Service at (765) 494- 6262,

Purdue University Residences' chef Grace Brutsman says gourmet meals such as London broil, lamb kebabs and Italian turkey breast can be easily accomplished on the backyard grill. Sides, such as couscous with pine nut and salad tossed with broccoli, red and green onions, toasted noodles, sunflower seeds and almonds, complete the summer meals. (Purdue University Residences photo/Katherine Braz)

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