Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Maple and Mustard Glaze, Butternut Squash and Red Onion Kebab Recipe

We’re gearing up for prime grilling season and kebabs are always a fun menu option. They can be made with all types of tender meats and even tofu and embellished with vegetables from the usual suspects such as onion and bell pepper to squash or fruit.

In the following recipe, fenugreek might seem like a foreign ingredient as it is typically found in curries and Middle Eastern cooking, notes Bruce Aidells, author of The Great Meat Cookbook, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. But its highly aromatic flavor increases the more subtle aspects of the maple syrup. If you can’t find good fenugreek, you can leave it out. Bacon and shrimp are a great combination, but don’t scimp on the bacon, says Aidells. Buy the best you can, such as apple wood smoked bacon. And he finds the round, bamboo skewers help secure the bacon better than flat, metal skewers for this recipe.

You want to ensure all ingredients on one skewer require the same cook time. That’s why the shrimp is made on separate skewers from the squash and onions here rather than alternating on the same skewer. If you are cooking kebabs for a gathering, guests can partake in the fun and help assemble the skewers. Remove the cooked food from the skewers before serving so guests can take exactly how much they want. It can be cumbersome to serve each guest their own skewers.

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Maple and Mustard Glaze, Butternut Squash and Red Onion

Makes 4 Servings

4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground fenugreek (optional)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce, to taste

15 to 20 12-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water
112 lb. large shrimp, peeled with tails intact
1/2 lb. apple wood smoked bacon, halved crosswise
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, cut in 1-inch chunks

For the glaze: In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in mustard until fully blended and whisk in remaining ingredients. Keep warm.

For the kebabs: Wrap bacon around shrimp and thread lengthwise onto skewer. Each skewer should hold 3 to 4 shrimp. Alternate squash and onion on separate skewers.

Build a medium-hot charcoal or gas fire. Brush shrimp skewers generously with glaze and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until firm and light pink. Remove from skewers to a warm platter and brush with glaze.

Brush vegetable skewers with glaze and cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until squash just begins to soften. Remove from skewers to a warm platter and brush with glaze. Top with shrimp and serve.

Nutrition info (per serving): CALORIES 387 (161 from fat); FAT 18g (sat. 9g); CHOL 241mg; SODIUM 774mg; CARB 26g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 32g

Looking for more grilling inspiration and delicious food? Check out Minnesota Monthly Grill Fest this weekend, May 14 and 15, at CHS Field.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.