Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Cucumber-Chive Yogurt

Recipe updated May 2015

Lamb is great on the grill, whether as chops or kebabs. While chops are fine to cook directly on the grate above the flames, smaller pieces of meat and vegetables on skewers may stick to it and tear or fall off when turning. That’s where a griddle or grill pan comes in.

I used a cast-iron griddle to cook the kebabs, and the lamb and veggies still had that tasty char-grilled flavor. The key is to allow the cast-iron pan to heat up enough before placing the kebabs on it—about 10 minutes or so.

Tangy, cool Greek yogurt spruced up with cucumber and chives is just the thing to serve with the smoky kebabs. Serve it in individual bowls for each guest to use as a dip for the lamb (and vegetables). Just mix the few ingredients in a bowl and let rest in the fridge for a while. 

Tip: Small pieces of lamb are often sold packaged as stew meat in the butcher shop. Those are fine to use for skewering, and if the meat is from a leg of lamb, all the better for grilling. Try to buy uniform pieces, then trim any excess fat as needed.

Trimmed Lamb Pieces
Serves 4


For the Lamb
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb lamb leg meat, cut into 1-1/4-inch trimmed pieces (about 24 total)
  • 8 1-1/4-inch squares of red bell pepper
  • 8 1-1/4-inch squares of green bell pepper
  • 8 1-1/4-inch squares of red onion
  • sea salt
  • cooked basmati rice, for serving
Vegetables Ready to Skewer
For the Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled seedless cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Lamb
  1. Combine the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of oil, rosemary, and black pepper in a heavy, sealable plastic bag. Add the lamb and seal. Turn several times to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours (and up to 4).
  2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Set a cast-iron griddle (or large grill pan) on the grate and let heat 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the lamb from the marinade, letting excess drip off (discard marinade). Divide the lamb, bell peppers, and onion and thread onto 4 skewers (soaked in water 30 minutes, if wood), alternating pieces on each skewer. Brush with oil and season with salt.
Lamb in the Marinade 
Kebabs Ready to Grill
  1. Grill the kebabs on the griddle, turning a few times, until the lamb is medium and the vegetables are lightly charred, 9-10 minutes total (or until desired degree of doneness).
Kebabs Beginning to Grill
Grilled Kebabs
Plate the kebabs over rice and serve the sauce (recipe follows) in individual small bowls alongside.

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Cucumber-Chive Yogurt
For the Yogurt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours). Spoon into individual small bowls for serving
Yogurt Mixture 
Cucumber-Chive Yogurt

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