When grilling season rolls around, we eagerly prepare the favorites we waited all winter to enjoy. It isn’t long, however, before we begin trying new things to add to our favorites list. These grilled Turkish ground lamb kebabs are one of our new favorites, and they’re sure to be one of yours.
What makes this dish different from most kebabs (or kabobs) is that the meat — in this case, lamb — is ground and threaded onto skewers rather than cubed and threaded.
Ground lamb is combined with a flavorful combination of ground pistachios, onion, garlic, parsley, chili peppers and a spice blend common in Turkey and the Middle East known as baharat. It’s easy to make yourself, and you may already have all of the ingredients. Simply combine 1½ tablespoons dried mint, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper and 1½ teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, coriander, cumin and nutmeg. If you can, place the mixture in a mortar and pestle, and gently grind the mixture together to blend and release the flavor of the spices. This recipe makes quite a bit more than you’ll need for this dish; however, it makes a great seasoning to keep on hand for chicken, beef or other cuts of lamb.
After combining all ingredients, it’s important to chill the meat well so it’s easier to work with on the grill. After chilling the formed pieces, thread a skewer through the center lengthwise. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to placing on the grill so they don’t burn.
After placing the kebabs on the grill, you’ll want to gently rotate rather than flip them. Although they’re cylindrical in shape, I think of them as square, gently making quarter-turns until cooked through to 165 degrees in the center.
Serve on pita bread rounds with red onion, tomato, shredded lettuce and plain yogurt. Tabbouleh and grilled vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and peppers are also perfect on the side for a fabulous summer meal!
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
— olive oil
— pita bread, red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, plain yogurt, for serving
In a mini food processor, grind pistachios until finely ground. Add onion, garlic, parsley,
Add ground lamb and mix until combined.
Divide lamb mixture into 4 even sausage-shaped portions. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Thread a skewer through the center of each portion lengthwise. Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Brush the kebabs with olive oil then place on grill. Reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, making quarter turns until cooked through.
Serve on pitas with onion, tomatoes,
Baharat recipe from Epicurious.com