Spiced Lamb Kebabs

Spiced Lamb Kebabs. Even though it’s winter, I still often crave something that’s grilled. Granted I sometimes have to shovel some of the snow off the deck to get to the grill, but I manage… because the grill flavor can’t be beat sometimes. 
I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for some time now… been waiting to make it when I have the craving for some middle-eastern food:). Normally, I don’t cook heavily spiced dishes, but from time to time I like to change things around and bring out the spices from my pantry. 
My freezer normally has some sort of meat, be it chicken, beef, or lamb. Most times I like to portion out the meat I freeze in smaller quantities. Sometimes I like to weigh out the meat beforehand then label according to weight, be it 2 lbs, 1lb  or 8 oz. This helps in the future, because smaller quantities defrost quicker, and it also helps with taking out just the right amount I need. And because I like to grind my own meat, it sort of makes sense to portion the meat for later use.  
This dish for me was quick to make and very flavorful. And because I had some ripe tomatoes on hand I chose to grill those as well, but you can grill other vegetables you have on hand, and make a meal by adding some basmati rice or quinoa… even a combination of rice and quinoa. The leftovers( if there are any) are wonderful re-heated and wrapped up in a flatbread with some yoghurt-cucumber or tahini-lemon sauce with a sprinkling of feta cheese…. similar to the greek gyros. Definitely brings out a bit of summer in the winter. Hope you enjoy…    

Tip: I am sure you can use other ground meat of choice… beef, chicken, turkey or  a combination. 
1 1⁄2 lbs. ground lamb
1/3 cup+1 TBS grated onion
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/2 TBS paprika (or aleppo pepper, if you have)
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional 
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste(can use a bit less) 
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried mint leaves, crumbled*
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
a drizzle of extra oil
chopped cilantro, optional
* I ended up using a mint tea bag, since I didn’t have any dried mint

1. Grind lamb, or use pre-ground meat. I ended up grinding mine from a boneless lamb leg.

2. Combine ground lamb and onion in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add paprika (or aleppo pepper), salt, cumin, oregano, mint, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
4. Pour the somewhat cooled spice mixture over the reserved lamb mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands.

5. Divide lamb mixture into 6 portions and roll each into a thin flat cylinder about 1 inch thick. Slide a flat metal skewer into each cylinder and press the meat around the skewer, flattening it a bit…. my metal skewers were thin, so I added another skewer to hold the meat in place a bit better.
6. Transfer skewers to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
7. Heat a gas grill to medium-high (alternatively, heat broiler and position rack 7″ from heating element). 
8. Drizzle a bit of oil over each kebab to coat.
9. Grill or broil the kebabs, turning once, until browned and a bit charred on the outside… should take about 4 minutes per side or so. 
10. Serve with chopped cilantro, yoghurt, grilled tomatoes, and flat bread…. or for gluten free, use lettuce wraps.
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