Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Summer Recipes: Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Mediterranean Couscous Salad

I haven't posted much about food before, so you may not know (if you're one of the 2 readers who isn't my mom) how obsessed I am with food.  But I am.  And I am in a vaguely instinctual way, without putting much stock in recipes, or having a real plan before I start out.  More often, I have a craving for a particular flavour, a particular texture, or even an "idea" of food in a looser sense (like, I really want to eat something that reminds me of Spain, or sunshine, or being snuggled in an alpine cabin when it's warm outside...just me?).  The other day, I was really in the mood for something I could serve with grilled lemons (something I am now obsessed with from the Food Network.  Plain old lemons drizzled over food are good, but grilled lemons drizzled over food are even better.)

The result: delicious spice-rubbed lamb kebabs paired with a salad of Israeli couscous, cherry tomatoes, feta, and fresh herbs.  I thought I would take some pictures, and share the recipe of this easy, fairly healthy, and majorly delish meal with you.

To prepare the kebabs:

  • Cut whatever meat you are using (we used lamb, but you could just have easily used chicken, beef, shrimp, or even pork [although I find it REALLY dry most of the time]) into roughly 2" pieces.  If you're using chicken breast, cut it into strips which you can fold back over onto the kebab.
  • Place it in a ziploc bag, or a casserole dish you like to use for marinating, and add:
    • a splash of olive oil
    • 1 tbsp ground cumin
    • 1tbsp ground coriander
    • a dash of chili flakes, if you like things spicy
    • salt and pepper
  • Let it sit for a while (in the case of lamb or beef, as long as possible) while you chop veggies for the kebabs.  We used zucchini and red onions because that was what we had on hand.  You could easily add tomatoes, eggplant, or mushrooms (try and choose something with enough heft that it wont overcook - asparagus, not so great, for example.  Even though I love asparagus.)
  • Thread the meat and vegetables onto skewers (if you're using bamboo like we did, you can soak them so they don't burn).  The skewers could be cooked one of several ways:  in a barbecue, if you're lucky enough to own one, in your oven on the broiler setting, or in your grill pan on the stove, like us.  Cooking times will vary based on what you're using, but our took about 10 minutes on the grill pan, on high.
For the couscous, which is easy to throw together while the kebabs are cooking:
  • Bring a medium saucepan 2/3 full of water to boil, like you would do for pasta.
  • Dice a red onion, and saute over medium low heat with some olive oil for a few minutes, until the onions begin to brown at the edges.  Then add a few cloves chopped garlic and continue to cook for a 3 more minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown.  Remove the onion from the heat at this point, and add them to the serving bowl for the couscous.
  • While the onions are browning, cook the Israeli couscous by adding it to the boiling water, and boil for approximately 6 minutes (test some to make sure its done, I like mine chewy.)
  • Drain the couscous and add to the bowl with the onions.  In addition, chop up some cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, and add fresh chopped oregano and thyme.  Stir the couscous to mix and a dash of olive oil and a generous amount of red wine vinegar, as well as some salt and ground pepper.
To serve:
  • When the meat has about 1 minute left, slice a lemon into halves, cutting the round end off each half, and grill with the meat.
  • Place one or two kebabs onto a plate along with a spoonful of couscous salad and a lemon half, and serve with your favorite refreshing summer beverage.

Let me know if you try this out!  My official taste tester gave me the thumbs up, so I hope you enjoy.

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