Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet-Savory Lamb Kebobs WIth Roasted Red Potatoes

This dish nods in the direction of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Not only is it easy, but also very flavorful and surprising if you're not used to having sweet and savory spices in the same entree. Lamb does not hold the place that beef, chicken and pork do in the culinary continuum, so we will give it some attention and respect here with this recipe. On the other hand, its presence is on the rise in nice restaurants as well as establishments that strive to use as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible.

The proportions here are enough for one, so adjust if you are feeding more. This recipe is a good one to break out for dinner guests, they will think you're some kind of brilliant chef when they taste the kebobs, when all the while you know that it is one of the easiest things you've ever made.

for lamb:
- Lamb steak (or cubed lamb). Make sure it is at or near room temperature when you begin.
- Maras pepper (similar to crushed red pepper, which may be substituted, maras may be found at most international food sections and markets. If your local doesn't carry it, they are lame and tell them so)
- 1 tsp salt and black pepper (each). Freshly ground pepper is always best -- why? Because the flavors are so much richer and vibrant just after the peppercorns have been cracked.
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriandor
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tbsp olive oil (for sautéing)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- plain yogurt (served on the side)
for potatoes:
- 1 large red potato
- 1 tsp salt and pepper (each)
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil

Make a vodka, put some music on and get to work. The lamb will take approximately 10-15 minutes to cook, depending on your range. The potatoes will roast in about 20 minutes.

First, combine the spice mixture for the lamb in a medium-size bowl. Mix it well. Then, cut the steak into bite-sized chunks, trimming fat as you do. Take care not to make the chunks too small, as they will be difficult to impale with a skewer and will fall apart. When finished, add to spice mixture and toss to coat with hands, so that the spices are rubbed into the meat.

Let the lamb sit while you prepare the potatoes. Cube the potato (unless you're lame, leave the skin on). Place in oven pan. Add olive oil, then spices, coating the potatoes well. Heat oven to 425. While it warms up, work on your drink. Turn up the music if necessary. When ready, put them in.

Back to the lamb. In a medium-size skillet, add olive oil and heat to medium heat. As it warms up, add garlic. Then, add lamb, sauteeing to medium-rare (or medium) doneness. When done, remove from heat and let stand for a moment.

About that time, the potatoes should be at or near done. Remove from oven and plate.

Place lamb cubes on skewers (you should have enough for roughly two) and plate. Serve with a small serving of plain yogurt, perhaps in a bowl with a fish on it:

Garnish with flat-leaf parsley or cilantro if desired. When you're plate is ready, this dish pairs well with a deep red wine such as zinfandel, shiraz or cabernet. Pour a glass and enjoy :)

Tonight's music: Little Voice by Sara Bareilles

Technology tip: it's all so overwhelming, why don't we just skip it this time?