May 4, 2011

Grilled Lamb Kabobs with Tomato Tzatziki, Roasted Eggplant, and Cous Cous

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Continuing with our week of indoor grilling, we decided to do one of our old favorites from our days in Chicago when we had the luxury of a patio and a Weber charcoal grill. These lamb kabobs are juicy and savory, with a complex array of flavors. They partner up beautifully with the cool tzatziki sauce, and we served it with a nice cous cous and roasted eggplants, whose flavors really helped to round out the mediterranean profile of this dish.

I love lamb. They need to rename this blog. 
These lamb kabobs are another great recipe that transfer nicely from the world of charcoal grilling to indoor cast iron grill pan grilling. Like the spicy scallops, they're also very thin so they can be cooked through to completion right on the surface of the grill pan. The flavors created by caramelizing the lamb on on the grill ridges make these kabobs even more gourmet than you'd get by frying or baking them, so it's a good use of the grilling technique!

Making the Dish
What You'll Need

3/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 large cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash cinnamon
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 small carrot - shredded
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

To start, make the meat mixture and shape the meat into rolls so they can set in the fridge while the rest of the meal comes together. To do this, slice up the onions and mince the garlic with the microplane. Using the microplane makes the garlic extremely well minced and releases all its juices, meaning that the potency of the garlic will be able to spread throughout the entire mixture.

In a mixing bowl, combine the lamb with the sliced green onions, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. Mix it together by hand until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Then, shape the mixture into small rolls, about 2 inches long and 1 inch tall. Once all the meat is used up, put the rolls into the fridge and let set for about an hour.

Lamb rolls, setting in a dish. 

While the meat is setting, we moved on to the eggplant. Dice the eggplant up into small cubes, about one inch by one inch, and then coat with olive oil. Toss the eggplant cubes with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and a touch of curry powder until the eggplant is nicely coated. Spread the eggplant out over a baking dish in one layer, and place it into a preheated oven at 375 degrees. Let it roast until the rest of the meal done, 15 - 20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and lightly caramelized.

Cubed eggplant, coated with herbs. 

To make the tzatziki, we used plain greek yogurt, since its much thicker than regular yogurt.

Fage greek yogurt. Plain will never be the same!
Into the yogurt mix the chopped tomato, shredded carrot, chopped parsley, and garlic, again minced on the microplane. Stir this vigorously until everything is incorporated, and while stirring, drizzle in some olive oil.

Tomato, parsley,  shredded carrot, and olive oil added to the yogurt. 

Then seasoned with salt and pepper. We tasted it after each addition of salt and pepper until it was just right. Then, put it into the fridge and let it chill.

The finished tzatziki sauce. Yummy!

Finally, grill up the kabobs. We speared the lamb with two bamboo skewers, so it was easier to handle them. Then, pre-heat your grill pan until it is nice and hot, almost smoking. Place the kabobs onto the hot plate so that the ridges of the grill are perpendicular to the length of the lamb rolls.

Spearing the lamb rolls onto the bamboo skewers. 

Cook for about 5 - 7 minutes on one side, and then turn over and cook the other side. You should see some nice caramelization of the grill marks.

Grilling lamb kabobs. 

You want the lamb to be still a little bit pink on the inside so it's nice and juicy, but not too pink. The juices should be running pretty close to clear when the lamb is cooked.

Look at those grill marks. Seriously. Delicious. 

The Wine
We enjoyed our grilled lamb kabobs with an Italian red, a dolcetto called Torremora. It was light and floral, but a bit dry. While not our favorite Italian red of all time, it was a nice complement to the dish though, as the dryness helped to counteract some of the heat given off by the garlic flavor.

The Result
We laid down a bed of the tzatziki sauce and laid the skewers on top, with the cous cous and the eggplant on the side. This is a really great combination. The subtle heat from the garlic and onion in the lamb kabobs is complemented wonderfully by the coolness of the tzatziki. The tzatziki itself is quite delicious given its simple preparation - the tomato, parsley, and garlic come through nicely and are held together well by the greek yogurt.

Overall this is one we'll likely be coming back to over and over as the summer starts to arrive. It's simple, but very satisfying. Give it a try!

Have a favorite grilled meal that we should try out at home? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. OMG! Not a big fan of lamb but that tomato tzatziki sounds absolutely amazing!!! Mmm, definately something to try this summer at our next family bbq.

    BTW, did I miss the "you're a winner" email or was that another Karen? :)

  2. Thanks Karen! This would probably be really good with pork or beef too, the seasoning is what makes it work so well with the tzatziki. If you try that out, let us know if it worked!

  3. By the way, yes it was you! Sorry on the delay, Bryan's been traveling. How should we get in touch with you?

  4. No worries - I get excited easily. Yipppeeee! You can email me at dalmatica (at) yahoo (dot) ca. However, I live in Canada so I understand if shipping something here isn't "doable". :)

  5. This sounds great! I recently got some Himalayan pink salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing and I'll have to try them out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  6. That sounds like it would be great! Let us know how it goes! :)


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