"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Friday, November 13, 2009

Moroccan Lamb Kebabs with Apricots and Onions

This was my first time making lamb and let's just say - I'm ready to start making many different lamb dishes! On a sunny Saturday, I took my friend's little walking-shopping cart and walked down 20 blocks to the Essex Market. After perusing the market to gather fresh fruits and vegetables, I landed at Jeffrey's Meat Market, a meat lover's institution run by Jeffrey himself! Running the place like a rock star with long gray hair, he is flirtatious with the ladies and buddies with the guys and he is eager to help you make the best meat decisions for your meal. I picked up 4 pounds of well trimmed boneless leg of lamb and he even cut it into kebab size cubes for me! I just love LOVE Moroccan food and ever since I got my Emril Double Burner Grill (it's grill on one side and smooth for pancakes on the other!) I am all about good excuses to use it! I came across this recipe while doing an extensive Moroccan cooking search and so I changed it up a bit and put it to the test. These kebabs were delicious with some golden Israeli couscous with almond slices. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control (drink-induced hunger) I couldn't get any pictures of the kebabs with the couscous. I suppose I will have to make these again....sigh. Can't wait!

Moroccan Lamb Kebabs with Apricots and Onions
(Makes about 40 kebabs)

3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup lemon juice
10 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 lbs boneless leg of lamb cut into cubes

Whole dried apricots (2 per skewer)
4 red onions cut into chunks

1. Whisk the first 8 ingredients in a bowl to blend. Remove 1/2 cup of it to use to marinate the skewers while they are on the grill, cover and chill. Add the lamb and mix around with your hands to evenly coat all the lamb in the marinade. Cover and let marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably 6-8 hours or overnight.

2. Prepare the grill on medium high heat and generously drizzle olive oil over it. Remove the lamb from the marinade and arrange the skewers. I chose to put one apricot on the each end and have two lamb chunks divided by an onion chunk in the middle: apricot, lamb chunk, onion chunk, lamb chunk, apricot. Grill the skewers until they soften and brown, turning about 4 times and basting with the extra marinade. The skewers may take about 8 minutes for a delicious medium rare cooking but you may need to move them from the outer parts to the inner part of the grill to prevent the apricots from burning.

Enjoy with golden couscous and sliced almonds! Finish your meal with some hookah and call it a night!

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