- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006



Cube it, skewer it and throw it on the grill — kebab makes the most of a springtime favorite, leg of lamb.

Here’s a version that blends the refreshing bite of fresh herbs with the pungency of cinnamon and ginger, as well as the brilliant colors of saffron and turmeric. These spicy lamb kebabs with pickled grapes offer something new for today’s flavor-focused generation: an exciting fusion of Greek and Asian cuisine.

Customarily a food of the Middle East, kebab (grilled skewered meat), or a form of it, can be found on menus around the globe. From Russian shashlik and Far Eastern teriyaki to French en brochette, Southeast Asian satay and Japanese yakitori, skewered food is popular in many cultures.

The uncomplicated preparation, dramatic presentation and effortless cleanup make kebabs a pleasurable meal to create and to eat. All it needs is fresh ingredients, a set of skewers and a hot grill.

This recipe, along with more than 175 others, is explained and illustrated in the Culinary Institute of America’s “Grilling” cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman).

Spicy lamb kebabs

3-pound boneless leg of lamb

5 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 teaspoons minced flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons minced oregano leaves

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons Spanish paprika (pimenton)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

teaspoon ground turmeric

teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads

16 bamboo skewers

32 pickled grapes (recipe follows)

Trim the lamb and cut it into 1-inch cubes; you should have about 48 pieces.

Thoroughly combine all the remaining ingredients except the grapes. Coat the meat evenly with the mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Soak the bamboo skewers in cool water for 30 minutes. Drain just before using.

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the grate.

While the grill is heating, thread 3 pieces of meat and 2 grapes on each skewer. Grill until medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve at once. Makes 8 servings.


1 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 seedless green grapes

16 seedless black grapes

Combine the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick and salt in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the grapes, and allow the grapes to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight, covered. The grapes are ready to use now or they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 32 pickled grapes.


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