North African lamb kebabs always sounded so intriguing to me. Traditionally we think of kebabs made up of ‘hunks’ of meat and/or vegetables. These North African lamb kebabs are made with ground lamb that’s blended with heavenly herbs and spices. I came across a recipe in one of my cooking magazines and the ingredients list was right up our alley (and mostly on hand): cumin, coriander, paprika, fresh cilantro, mint, oregano, ginger, garlic…..can’t you just smell it. Upon further Moroccan recipe research, I couldn’t decide on one single recipe but instead pulled together bits and pieces from several, as probably this recipe vary from region to region. The end result was incredibly juicy kebabs, just bursting with aromas and layers of flavor.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless leg or shoulder of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes with some of the fat attached
6 warm pita breads, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, mint, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and olive oil. Add the lamb to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Soak 8 to 10 bamboo skewers in warm water for about 1 hour before assembling the kebabs.
Preheat the grill to high, and lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking. Thread the lamb onto the soaked skewers and place on the grill, turning to evenly cook, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drizzle the pitas with sauce, then wrap the pita around the meat on the skewer, fold over and twist the skewer off the meat. Serve North African lamb kebabs.