You can buy harissa in many supermarkets now; it comes in tubes. You can also buy harissa online. And honestly, the main point is to get a good long marinade on the meat, so whatever you use should be fine -- just make sure it has some acid and some salt. If you have no venison handy, use lamb, bison or beef. One thing to be very sure about, however, is to trim off all silverskin and connective tissue. It will definitely make your kebabs gristly and tough.
8dried guajillo,ancho, pasilla or New Mexican chiles
4to 8 dried Aleppo or cascabel chiles(these are hot)
1?2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1?2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4to 6 garlic cloves,mashed and minced
2poundsvenison,trimmed of sinew and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks
1/4to 1/3 cup harissa
1/4cupred wine vinegar
Various vegetables cut to the size of the venisonsuch as mushrooms, onions, bell peppers or zucchini
If you are making your own harissa, start by removing the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Tear the chiles into pieces and pour enough hot water over them to just barely cover. Weigh the chiles down with a small plate or something and let the chiles soak for an hour or two, until they are soft.
Once the chiles are soft, put them and the remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor and process into a paste -- it can be smooth or rough, depending on how you like it. You might need a little bit of the soaking water to loosen things up. You can make the harissa days or even weeks in advance and store it in the refrigerator; it lasts for months that way.
To marinate the venison, mix the harissa and the red wine vinegar into a slurry in a bowl. Massage the marinade into the venison and pour the whole shebang into a lidded container. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, and as long as a day.
When you are ready to cook, remove the venison from the marinade. Cut the various vegetables into pieces roughly the size of the venison. Carefully skewer them onto two skewers -- doing this makes it much easier to turn the kebabs. I say carefully because you want to watch out for the pointy ends; I've stabbed myself a couple times when I get distracted. When you've made all your skewers, salt everything well and put them back in the fridge.
Get your grill nice and hot. Make sure the grill grates are clean. When your grill is ready, soak a paper towel in some vegetable oil and use tongs to wipe down the grates. Lay the skewers down on the grill so they are not touching. Grill for 6 to 10 minutes on the top and bottom of the skewers, plus another 1 to 2 minutes on the sides to "kiss" the edges. Use the finger test for doneness to determine how you want your venison.
Let the kebabs rest for 5 minutes, then pull the meat off the skewers and serve.
I like to serve these kebabs with something simple, like grilled potatoes or bread or if I am feeling like a low-carb day, cole slaw. The cole slaw in the picture is a recipe from my friend Elise over at Simply Recipes.