October 18, 2010

Lamb Kabobs and Other Grilled Goodness

Sunday Dinner:
Lamb Kabobs with Mediterranean Spices, Gilled Tomato Slices,
Yogurt-Dill Sauce, Orange Hummus and Pita Bread

I was very, very pleased with our Sunday night dinner.  We'd both had long days at work, and I was looking forward to a leisurely time doing some grilling on a fine autumn afternoon.   Thanks to having done most of the work the night before and that morning, I got that leisurely grilling time, and the result was that we both got an excellent meal.

Sunday's main dish was small chunks of lamb that had spent almost twelve hours in a flavorful marinade before being threaded onto skewers and grilled.  The marinade represents a recipe I developed by combining elements of several recipes I've made and seen.   The mix of spices gave the lamb a rich flavor, and having it marinate for several hours resulted in juicy, tender bits of seared lamb. I got the lamb marinating on Sunday morning, right after I got up.

While flipping through cookbooks as I planned the weekend's menu, I noticed a mouth-watering picture of thick tomato slices seared with grill marks and knew I wanted to make something like that.  They were simple to prepare, and absolutely delicious, as the grilling intensified their flavor.

Since lamb and tomatoes puts one close to gyros territory, I decided to go with that, so I picked up some fresh pita bread during our shopping earlier during the week and made up a batch of Yogurt-Dill Sauce last night.  I've used this sauce with other lamb recipes and knew it would go great with the bits of lamb and the tomatoes.  Once I'd finished the grilling and Juli had warmed up the pita bread, the table was rounded out with some Orange Hummus (which I'll write more about in another post) and a bowl of cherry tomatoes picked fresh from our garden.

Hot chunks of spicy, grilled lamb, thick, steaming tomato slices almost literally bursting with flavor, and cool, zesty sauce, all stuffed into warm, soft pita pockets... food really doesn't get much better than that.  As always, though, I urge you to not take my word for it.  Make a batch for yourself and let us know what you think.

Lamb Kabobs with Mediterranean Spices

2 lbs    lamb, cut into small pieces (1-inch cubes would be ideal)
1/4      cup beef broth
1/4      cup olive oil
2         tablespoons tomato paste
2         tablespoons grated onion
1         teaspoon cinnamon
1         teaspoon kosher salt
1         teaspoon paprika
1         teaspoon sugar
1/2      teaspoon ground allspice
1/2      teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2      teaspoon ground cumin
1/2      teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4      teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4      teaspoon powdered coriander

Mix all ingredients together in a large plastic ziploc bag.  Mix thoroughly, refrigerate at least 2 hours, and preferably 6 or more.

1/2 hour before projected cooking time, remove from refrigerator and thread the lamb onto skewers.  Smaller chunks of lamb can be pressed together for even cooking, but do not pack the lamb too densely onto the skewers.

Grill lamb skewers over direct, medium heat for 10-11 minutes, turning after about 5 minutes.  Remove skewers onto a serving plate and cover with foil for five minutes, then serve.

Yogurt-Dill Sauce

This sauce is excellent with lamb, pork or salmon. 
1        cup plain yogurt
1 1/2  tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2     teaspoon lemon juice
1/2     teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4     teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least three hours before serving.

Grilled Tomato Slices

3     Large, firm, ripe tomatoes
Non-stick cooking spray
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

Cut each tomato horizontally into three slices of equal thickness.  Spray the skin sides of the top and bottom slices with cooking spray.  Sprinkle both sides of the tomato slices with salt and pepper.

Grill the tomato slices over direct, low heat for approximately 5 minutes per side.  Serve immediately

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