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Golden Yogurt-Crusted Lamb and Tomato Kebabs

Cheryl Sternman Rule2 Comments
Golden Yogurt-Crusted Lamb and Tomato Kebabs

Golden Yogurt-Crusted Lamb and Tomato Kebabs

To support the site, Team Yogurt will occasionally partner with companies whose products or services tie in with our mission to celebrate yogurt. We're picky, forthright, and transparent about these sponsored partnerships. Below is the second of two sponsored posts I developed for the Tri-Lamb Group, which is currently running a Summer Grilling Sweepstakes. "Like" the Lean on Lamb Facebook page to learn more and enter.

We hope you agree that lamb + yogurt go beautifully together.  ~Cheryl

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At some part I wised up when making kebabs. 

When I first started grilling, I'd thread a kaleidoscope of ingredients onto a single skewer, eager to impress my guests with multi-hued sticks alternating cubed meat with a bevy of riotous summer vegetables.

As I became a more sophisticated griller, though, I soon realized that though these skewers may look lovely, different cook-times for meat and certain vegetables mean you may end up with undercooked protein and overcooked produce, or the reverse. Kebab-grilling is a relatively quick affair (which, of course, is what makes it so appealing on busy summer nights), but this means you really want to make sure each element of your kebab gets its ideal time over the fire -- no more, no less.

For me, the solution is super-simple: Thread the meat on one set of skewers, thread the vegetables on another set, and serve them together, allowing diners to mix and match sticks to their liking. You still get that beautiful mix of colors on the platter and on the plate, but everything will be cooked to perfection.

I've written before about yogurt's affinity for lamb, so my ideal summer skewer pairs lamb with a golden yogurt marinade. I flavor and tint the yogurt with turmeric, lemon, and a generous spoonful of Hungarian hot paprika, then let the lamb take a nice yogurty soak in the fridge. 

Happily, lamb kebab meat grills quickly and beautifully. To make things especially easy, many grocers and butchers sell lamb already cubed and skewer-ready. Mine cuts its kebab meat from the leg, which, along with lamb from the loin and rack, is naturally lean. Lean lamb is also a protein powerhouse, with each serving delivering almost 50% of your daily protein needs.

Serve your lamb kebabs with sticks of golden cherry tomatoes to reinforce the meal's color palette. Garnish with a lemony dice of cucumbers and onions, and finish with an artistic drizzle of creamy yogurt. 

The result? A kaleidoscope of flavors and colors, not an overcooked element in sight. 

Recipe for Golden Yogurt-Crusted Lamb and Tomato Kebabs

This pretty summer meal is a study in contrasts: varying temperatures (hot lamb and tomatoes, cool yogurt and diced veg), mixed colors (gold, purple, green, white) , and diverse flavors (spicy, sweet, acidic). 

You'll need 8 skewers. I prefer metal, but if using wood / bamboo, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes before grilling. 

And do plan ahead. You'll need at least 2 hours for the lamb to marinate.

Makes 4 servings 

3/4 cup whole milk yogurt, plus additional yogurt for drizzling
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Hungarian hot paprika (or use smoked or plain paprika plus a pinch of cayenne)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 pounds lamb kebab meat (2" chunks)
30 to 40 yellow cherry tomatoes
Olive oil spray (essential!)

Make the marinade. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, oil, paprika, turmeric, the zest and juice of half the lemon, 1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add the lamb and stir well to coat. Cover the bowl or transfer to a zip-top bag and press out the air. Refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours. (Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling.)

Prep the lemony vegetables. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber and red onion. Sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pre-heat the grill and compose the skewers. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (about 450°F). Scrape the grates clean. Divide the lamb among 4 skewers. (Allow excess marinade to drip away, and discard any marinade left in the bag. There's no need to blot the meat.) Divide the tomatoes among 4 additional skewers. Coat the lamb and tomatoes generously on all sides with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper.

Grill the skewers. Grill the lamb to medium-rare, about 10 to 14 minutes total, turning once or twice. (Don't turn for the first 5 minutes or the meat may tear.) Grill the tomatoes for 3 to 4 minutes only, until charred and juicy. Carefully remove all the skewers from the grill and arrange on a platter.

Garnish and serve. Spoon the lemony vegetables over the skewers, drizzle with additional yogurt, and serve.

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Words, Photograph + Recipe © Cheryl Sternman Rule