Madeira Beef and Bay Leaf Kebabs (Espetada)

"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."
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Ready In:




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

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  1. This was so delicious and easy to make. I did tweak the recipe a little we used 1/2 red wine vinegar and 1/2 madeira wine. As LoversDream said you need to try this, it's to die for!! We served this with a green salas and saffron rice. Thank you so much for posting!
  2. Can't believe no one has reviewed this yet -- sooo many people are missing out on this one! I use to eat this at Casa Madeira on Jersey Channels Islands, UK and it is incredibly delicious. The only thing they did different was put a pat of butter on top after they hung it so the butter melted down the beef tenderloin (or fillet as they call it over there). This is a truly delicious dish that I would certainly serve to guests. They served this with milho frito which was also delicious.



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