Lamb has been a disaster meat for me. It’s expensive, hard to cook, and never tastes how I think it should. But I keep seeing recipes for Lamb and my tackle/conquer spirit kicks in. This is exactly what happened, though without as much ambition, when I wanted to master Roast Chicken. I made roast chicken every two weeks for five months until it came out beautifully. It took a handful of recipes, advice from wonderful cooks and a book called “Roasted Chicken” to get there, but I did it. So lamb: watch out. No, just kidding.
Greek Style Lamb Kebabs
6 yo 8 servings
From Emeril Lagasse “Emeril at the Grill”
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2-2 1/2 pounds of boneless leg or shoulder of lamb, cut into 1″ cubes
8-10 bamboo skewers
8 pita breads, warmed
A note on ingredients: I did not use onions or parsley and used regular ole paprika, not sweet paprika.
In a large bowl, combine onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, mint, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and olive oil. Stir and add lamb. Toss to coat, cover and let refrigerate for 2-4 hours. I did not refrigerate (let it sit on the counter), and only let it marinate for 1 hour. For a weeknight meal, who has 2-4 hours to wait?
As the meat is marinating, start your spread/dip. Emeril has a Feta spread that accompanies this lamb recipe, but I didn’t have feta and prefer tzatziki.
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon (you can use the other half from the lemon juice/zest marinade)
salt and pepper
Dash of cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Peel cucumber and toss the peels; grate cucumber (the small cheese grater side works well) into bowl; pour out excess juice, squeeze the cucumber of more excess juice and pour out – you don’t want the cucumber to be totally dry, but you don’t want it so watery that it breaks the yogurt down. Add yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Then, it’ll be about time to start your grill and slice up some veggies. I would recommend using cucumber, red onion or yellow onion, cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber. Cut down to large 2″ pieces and skewer with the lamb OR if you just want to use as a topping, dice and set aside to top.
At this point, turn your oven on to the recommended degree (it’ll say on the Green naan/Pita bread bag); if your grill is large enough, I would throw it on the grill with a little olive oil on both sides right before you take off the skewers.
Grill for about 5 minutes, turning a couple of times on the grill to cook thoroughly on all sides.
Layer up: Pita, then lamb and veggies, topped with tzatziki. Delish! As I write this recipe, it seems really labor intensive, but if you have most of the ingredients in your spice rack, stocked in the fridge or planted in the garden to grab, it’s all about using what you have to compliment the lamb.