For many years, our dear friends Rabbi Zev S. and Mrs. Andy S. used to come with their family to our house for the second day of Sukkot. They came every year until Rabbi S. got a job as the Rabbi of a neighborhood Shul, and Rabbinical responsibilities kept them from our long standing Sukkot lunch. Then when Rabbi S. finally left that job, the family made Aliya and it was too far to walk…
In order to “keep it interesting” and to avoid the S. family saying “She made that again!! We just had that last year!!!” I used to prepare the food of a different nationality every year. That meant lot’s of different culinary themes to explore, and never the same meal twice! It was a lot of fun going to the library and searching for cookbooks of each nationality, and then finding the traditional dishes from each country. I also searched online, but there’s something about picking up a cookbook and getting a feel for the nuances of the culture through the collection of recipes and photographs of the food – all in one book. We had Italian, French (yes I did make fries that year), American, Chinese, Mexican, and even Greek food one year – plus a few others, but it was so long ago I can’t even remember which ones they were!
I have been thinking about those lunches a lot lately because I have had a huge craving for one of the dishes I made the “Greek” year – GRILLED LAMB KEBABS. My subconscious has been stuck on that dish! At least that’s what I thought it was stuck on. Working from my recollection of the recipe, I went to the store and bought ground lamb. When I went to go look for the actual kebob recipe in my computer recipe database, all I found was a recipe for Greek Lamb Kebabs – made with chunks of lamb…not ground lamb. I was thoroughly confused – it wasn’t the recipe I remembered! I then went to my recipe binder and continued to search for the recipe that was causing the mix-up. I finally found the one I was looking for – except it was a recipe for ground chicken kebabs! In my overworked brain I had somehow merged together two recipes and come up with a third alternative!! They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…well, I had ground lamb – I was making ground lamb kebobs!! I did my best to take the flavors from the Greek Kebobs I remembered so fondly and merge it with the properties of the chicken ones I had retrieved from my internal brain database. I also remembered to soak the skewers so they didn’t go up in flames on the grill (I only needed to make that mistake once!). They smelled great while grilling! I can’t wait to satisfy that craving!!! I’m sure once you try them, you’ll be craving more too!!
We miss you Rabbi Zev & Mrs. Andy S.!!
GRILLED LAMB KEBABS
2 pounds ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 large egg
16 shish kebob skewers
Preheat the grill to medium heat. If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb and spices. Mix until spices are evenly distributed. Mix in the egg until thoroughly combined.
Shape the lamb into a large log. Divide the meat into 8 slices, then cut each slice in half, making 16 sections. Roll each of the 16 sections into a “sausage” shape. Take a soaked skewer and brush olive oil on the top half. Slide the lamb “sausage” over the skewer. Flatten slightly, and lightly coat with oil. Set aside and repeat with remaining lamb “sausages”.
Place kebabs on the grill, and cook for 10 minutes. Brush the kebobs with additional oil and flip. Grill for an additional 5 minutes until cooked through. Serve warm.
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