World-renowned chef and author Maria Elia’s new Greek cookbook, Smashing Plates, was inspired by the cuisine at her father’s tavern in Cyprus. Greek pub food. Sound like a winning formula? We combed through this page-turner and came up with a few recipes to share. Fire up the grill for these spicy, citrus-marinated lamb kebabs.
Lamb is usually associated with lemon in Greek cooking, but I thought it would make a change to use orange and chile instead to impart a great flavor and visual appeal to the lamb. Serve with a mint yogurt or tahini sauce, pita bread, salad and pickles. You will need to start this the day before.
- 2 1/4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed with 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 bay leaves, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 large orange
- 2 red chilies, halved lengthwise and seeded
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- honey, to drizzle
- You will need four 12-inch metal skewers or two double-pronged skewers.
- Cut the lamb into roughly 2 1/2-inch pieces and place in a non-reactive bowl.
- Add the oil, crushed garlic and salt, bay leaves, cinnamon and allspice and toss evenly to coat.
- Strip the zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler, cutting away any white pith.
- Add to the lamb, along with the chilies.
- Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice over the lamb, and toss everything together.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the lamb from the fridge, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Cut the orange peel and chiles into pieces.
- Thread a piece of lamb onto two skewers, leaving a 3/4-inch distance between each skewer (two skewers will stop the meat from spinning), and follow with a piece of orange peel and a piece of chile.
- Repeat until all the lamb has been threaded onto the skewers.
- Let the lamb come up to room temperature before cooking.
- Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to low heat and cook the lamb, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
- (You could, of course, sear the lamb on a grill pan or outdoor grill and finish in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15–20 minutes.)
- Set aside, drizzled with honey and covered with foil, to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Chef's Note: For alternative marinade flavors, add 6 sprigs of finely chopped oregano or 2 sprigs of rosemary, and replace the orange peel with lemon.
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