Midway through the first 1/2 of the last quarter of culinary school baking class, I found that I had absolutely no cotton pickin’ room in my freezer. I’d stuffed a loaf of challah bread
, and a bazillion foot-long pieces of French baguette, made sponge-style and well, non-sponge-style into our already (in my opinion) tiny fridge. Not to mention the other loaf of pumpernickel
, eclair shells, and the list goes on.
Before that point, the little thing was already pretty packed. Being somewhat of a hate-to-waste-things freak, I tend to freeze almost anything I can get my hands on. Eggs whites? Check. Lime leaves? Yepper. Tomato paste? Thai chiles? Mole sauce? Now, I sense you understand. It’s safe to say I’d be totally bummed out if we lost power in these parts. No friends, not because I’d have to take an ice-cold shower in the dark, but because I’d lose my freezer food. Which we could probably live on for a month, if push came to shove.
Meat is no exception to the freezer madness. And so over break, when I’ve practically cooked every night, I started to clean out the ol’ ice box. In the summertime, you gots to have room for icecream. Gots to. In addition to Ahi tuna, ham hock, pork chops, and kangaroo and beef tenderloins, I found a bunch of lamb in there – rack of lamb, lamb shanks, and a huge leg of lamb that if eaten, would clear up a crazy amount of room. It felt like Christmas in July June. And since I stupidly didn’t divide the leg o’ lamb into 1 lb portions so I wouldn’t have to roast the whole damn thing, it was lamblegfest over here a couple of weeks ago.
Oh heck yes. To put it simply, I freakin’ love lamb. It has this distinct, intense, almost sweet (when compared to beef) flavor that is such a refreshing change from your typical beef dinners. Find me in a restaurant and if I’m not ordering halibut, it’s probably because I ordered lamb instead.
So for the first meal of lamblegfest, kebabs it was. Quick, easy, and grill-ready. For a leg of lamb, you could cook it most any way you wanted and cook time is similar to beef in that it’s best served medium-rare, but if you like charred meat, then you’d do the same here. And jazz it up a bit – use different veggies or different herb combos in the sauce if you like. I mean, after all, it’s your lamb isn’t it?
New to the world of Lamb? Try these recipes too:
Spiced Lamb & Veggie Kebobs w/ Cilantro-Mint Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009; Serves 4
1 1/2 t g cumin
1 1/2 t g coriander
2 t grated peeled fresh ginger
2 t canola oil
1/2 t salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-lb) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
16 cherry tomatoes
16 pieces of yellow bell peppers (or red or orange)
16 wedges of red onion
1/2 c cilantro, fresh
1/4 c mint, fresh
2 T chopped green onions
2 T water
1 T canola oil
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 t g cumin
1/8 t salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced with some seeds left intact
- if using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes until ready to use
- prepare grill to medium-high heat
- for kebabs, combine first 6 ingredients in bowl and add lamb. Toss around. Marinate in fridge, if possible, for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Then thread lamb, tomatoes, peppers, and onion alternately onto each of 8 skewers. Coat grill rack w/ spray and grill about 10 minutes, turning occasionally
- for sauce, combine cilantro and all remaining ingredients in mini-blender and process until smooth. Serve w/ kebabs.
(Can be made in advance and stored in fridge)