I was taking a look back at what I've accomplished this grilling season, and through all the fond memories came a horrifying reality: I had failed to cook any lamb! Though totally not intentional, I could not come to grips with this omission and began plotting to get lamb on the grill the next time I fired it up.
When marinating lamb, I try to find flavors that will best complement the rich and bold taste of the meat. It's a trickier task than when using chicken or pork, which just take on the flavor of whatever they're soaked in. The lamb standards of cilantro, garlic, and garam masala all went into this marinade, but it was the raisins that first caught my attention and lifted these kabobs to greatness. They added a slightly sticky sweetness, which worked with the lamb in an incredibly pleasing and unique way. Add some naan into this equation, and you'll have an unbeatable little meal.
Garlic and Cilantro Lamb Kabobs
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
- For the Marinade
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and silver skin and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- Lemon or lime wedges for serving (optional)
Process all of the marinade ingredients in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of workbowl with rubber spatula as needed.
Toss marinade and lamb in ziploc bag; seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly.
While the fire is lighting, starting and ending with meat, thread 4 pieces meat, 3 pieces onion (three 3-layer stacks), and 6 pieces pepper in mixed order onto skewers.
Grill kabobs uncovered, turning each kabob one-quarter turn every 1 3/4 minutes to brown all sides, until meat is well browned all over and cooked to medium-rare, about 7 minutes. Transfer kabob to serving platter, squeeze lemon or lime wedges over kabob if desired, and serve immediately.