Lamb Jam may be months away but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this diverse and flavorful protein at home. These kebabs from Chef Daniel Bojorquez combine ground lamb flavored with za’atar, a Middle Eastern sumac, sesame and thyme blend, with cooling Greek yogurt and feta sauce as a dip. An herb salad with the addition of pomegranate seeds gives the dish texture and makes it light enough to serve as an appetizer.
- 1 pound ground American lamb shoulder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 tablespoon of za’atar spice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and coarse crushed
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, rough chopped
- Seeds of 1 large ripe pomegranate
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon, minced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon of cucumber water (purée 1/4 cucumber without seeds and strain)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. Work the mixture until the texture resembles that of meatballs and stays together when pressed into a patty. Test the salt and level of spices by cooking a small patty of meat in a hot, oiled pan. Add salt and pepper, or more spices if desired.
- Once the mixture is seasoned, separate it into 4 – 4oz portions.
- Roll and press each portion individually onto metal skewers in a flat, oval shape.
- Put skewers in the fridge for a few hours before grilling; this will help the meat set and be easier to handle when it is time to grill.
- Mix all ingredients in a metal mixing bowl and whisk all ingredients together. This can be made up to 2 days ahead, if needed.
- (It is very important to mix all the ingredients just before serving, as you want to keep all of the ingredients fresh and crisp.)
- Mix all ingredients together, gently, with the tips of your fingers. Applying pressure could crush the pomegranate seeds and bruise the herbs. Serve immediately.
- Light your grill with natural charcoal 30 minutes before you will want to grill your kebabs. (I prefer to use a charcoal that cooks really hot and fast like oak or mesquite, but whatever you find in your store will work just fine.)
- Once your charcoal has a red and white color, you are ready to cook. Brush your lamb kebabs gently with extra virgin olive oil and place on the grill. The kebabs will cook fairly quickly, about 2 minutes each side. If you are unsure, check the temperature with a meat thermometer; the interior of the kebab should be 140˚F.
- To serve, place the herb and pomegranate salad in the middle of a serving dish. Put the hot kebabs right off the grill on top of the salad, and drizzle with the yogurt or serve the yogurt sauce on the side as a dip.