Let me wax poetic for a minute here, but fair warning if you’re a vegetarian/against meat, you should probably skip this post entirely (if the title wasn’t clue enough).
My husband and I freaking love lamb. It’s our favorite meat and super delicious. When cooked correctly it’s melt in your mouth tender and amazingly juicy.
It also tends to be expensive but we can get a pretty good price on it when we buy it from Findley market. That being said we probably only eat it once every 2 to 3 months because of the price constraints.
Ok so keeping our love for lamb in mind, think about the fact that my husband won’t eat veal because it’s a baby animal…
Anyone else as confused by that knowing that lamb is probably his favorite meat? He kept insisting to me that lamb wasn’t a baby and I had to break the news to him that it’s definitely the cute curly white haired ones that you always see drawn idealistically frolicking in rolling green fields.
At which point he promptly put his hand over his ears while saying “La la la la la” and the subject was dropped.
Anyway, so lamb is pretty much amazing in our opinion and something that we both tend to gravitate to. That may be a reason why we love Middle Eastern and Greek food so much with their consistent use of lamb. The only reason we don’t tend to get it an Indian restaurants is that I’m pretty sure that it’s only the tiniest amount of lamb mixed with mostly beef…but I digress.
And it’s really quite forgiving to cook. Oh the meat’s a little undercooked? Well you know its best served medium rare. Did it end up a little overdone? It’ll still be moist and tender.
Plus who doesn’t love meat on a skewer (barring vegetarians and the ilk of course)? I’ve noticed that if you present most people with meat on a stick they will happily devour it, no questions asked. Hell, if you present most people with any food item on a stick they’ll eat it (fruit, twinkies, etc.)
Everything was served on a bed of rice although couscous would be a nice base too. And sorry the picture ended up a bit monotone in color, it was all rubbed down with the same rub so ended up looking kind of the same. If you look at the photo above the top part is the eggplant, the middle is the lamb, and the bottom has the onions and peppers that were oven roasted (I’m really bad at skewering peppers so I skipped it and just roasted instead).
Also I totally meant to make some toum to go with this. Toum is a Lebanese garlic sauce and it’s basically the best thing ever. But I was kidnapped by ninjas and forced into a death battle showdown…Ok, so I completely forgot about wanting to make it for the meal.
I’ll include a separate recipe at the end for all of those who’d like to give it a shot. Word of warning – you can make toum in a food processor but I’ve always had hit or miss results. The best and easiest way to do it is with a stick blender; the invention of which is pure genius and makes making toum ridiculously easy (I can’t image how they made it back in the day using a mortar and pestle!)
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 ½ Tbsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
- ½ Tbsp Black Pepper
- ½ Tbsp cumin
- 3 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- ¾ tsp oregano
- ¾ tsp mint (if you don’t like either mint or oregano you can do 1 ½ tsp of all of one or the other)
- ¾ tsp salt (or to taste, feel free to use less if you try to avoid sodium)
- ½ tsp cayenne (if you want it spicier, use more cayenne)
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cardamom (if you don’t have it you can omit)
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cut into cubes of equal size
- 1 lb eggplant
- 2 bell peppers (pick whatever colors you like), cut into thin strips
- 1 medium red onion, cut thinly into half moon shaped slices
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Rice or Couscous, to serve
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients together. Set aside ¼ cup. Mix remaining marinade with lamb and allow to marinate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 if you’re oven roasting the peppers (if you want to grill them, after they’re rubbed with spices, wrap the peppers and onions in foil and throw them on the grill for 10 – 12 minutes).
- Cut eggplant in half. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for at least fifteen minutes while you prep the peppers and onions.
- Cut peppers and onions. Add 3 Tbsp olive oil to the reserved ¼ cup spice paste and mix well. Toss half of the spice paste with the peppers and onions. If you’re roasting them, spray an 8 by 8 baking pan and toss the peppers and onion in there. Put in the oven and cook for 20 – 30 minutes (depending on how soft you like them) making sure to stir every 10 minutes.
- After eggplant has rested, wash well to remove any salt and bitterness. Cut each half in half lengthwise, then slice widthwise into squared off circle shapes. The most important thing is that the eggplant pieces are approximately the same width. Toss with remaining marinade and thread eggplant onto skewers.
- Remove lamb from fridge and thread onto skewers.
- Grill over medium to medium high heat. Place the eggplant on the outer edges of the grill and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes. Add lamb to middle area of the grill and cook both eggplant and lamb another 10 minutes or until done to your liking.
- Remove from grill and let lamb skewers rest at least 5 minutes. (this also gives you time to let the peppers and onions finish in the oven if necessary). Remove meat and vegetables from skewers and divide into 4 equals servings. Serve over rice or couscous.
Still with me?
Obviously this is not the quickest meal although it’s actually not so bad once you get down to the actual cooking part. At that point all you’re really doing is cutting some veggies and skewering stuff. Rough estimate of put together + cook time is about 45 minutes (assuming you did the marinade ahead and already have the lamb cut and ready to go).
And it was crazy good. I may be biased by my love of lamb but this was my first time (knowingly) eating a baharat marinade (although I’m sure I’ve probably had it before out at a restaurant) and I really liked the subtle complex flavors the spices gave everything.
Husband’s Quote – “It’s something you don’t want to stop chewing because it kept having more and more flavor.”
I think the quote sums it up nicely. I just wish I would have remembered to make the toum because I can just picture dipping the pieces of lamb in it and how awesome that would have been.
Ideally this will act as a garnish and you should get 24 servings out of it. I'm not going to lie though - if you love garlic this stuff is highly addictive and we struggle to get 12 servings of it (which is why I don't make it very often).
- 12 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 egg whites
- 1 Tbsp light mayo
- Combine every ingredient in a jar. Place stick blender at bottom of the jar. Turn the immersion blender on and slowly lift it up to the top of the mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Place garlic and salt in food processor, pulse until ground. Scrape down sides.
- Put lid back on and slowly alternate between pouring in the lemon juice and oil - do it extra slowly so it does not break.
- Slowly add in egg whites (make sure they were kept cold).
- Let blend for at least 2 - 3 minutes. Add in mayonnaise and continue to blend for another 1 - 2 minutes. The goal is for it to reach a mayonnaise-like consistency and thicken up so keep processing until it does.