Sunday, April 14, 2013

Green Goddess Lamb Kebabs

I had such a blast cooking in the inaugural Lamb Pro-Am last year, I jumped at the chance to participate again. Last year's recipe was so personal for me, and I was very proud that I got to the finals with that dish.

Because American lamb has such a wonderful taste (never that game-y flavor that most people associate with lamb), I didn't want to make anything that would cover up the actual lamb flavor. A mix of herbs, I thought, would compliment that taste without overpowering it while also making the dish feel very Spring-y.

But the herbs needed a vehicle. I started looking at Green Goddess dressing recipes, but I avoid most things that call for large amounts of mayonnaise. That got me thinking, however, about how I often swap mayo out of recipes for Greek yogurt, something I still don't eat on its own but which certainly still has its place in the kitchen. Using yogurt as a marinade base also has the wonderful effect of tenderizing the meat; the boneless leg of lamb I had was almost flawless, but a yogurt marinade can help a more grizzly chunk of meat soften up. I call these Green Goddess Lamb Kebabs, but I know this isn't a traditional Green Goddess dressing. Maybe Green Goddess-ish Kebabs would be a better name?

I served these kebabs with shaved parsnip chips and leftover marinade. The sweetness of the parsnips was a nice contrast to the creamy dip, plus the chips added some great texture.

A note on the herbs: I used a mix of parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, and mint. You can leave out any of these that you might like. For one container of yogurt, I filled an entire salad spinner with herb leaves (picked off their stems). This probably added up to about 2 grocery store-sized bunches of herbs. Use as much as you like, but this is definitely a case where the more, the merrier!

And thanks again to the wonderful American Lamb Board and Boston Chefs for sponsoring this event. They both go to great lengths to support American lamb, which I find the tastiest of all the lamb out there.

Voting is open now, and you can buy tickets to the Lamb Pro-Am Finals by heading here.

Here's my lamb grilling on our indoor electric grill because it rained the day I made this recipe.

Green Goddess Lamb Kebabs
16 oz. Greek yogurt (not fat-free)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
about 2 bunches worth of fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, mint), minced
4 scallions, minced
juice of 1 lemon
cayenne pepper
2-3 lbs lamb, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes

In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, minced herbs, scallions, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then blend with an immersion blender. Salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove half of the sauce and reserve. Add lamb to remaining sauce in bowl, making sure all the lamb is well covered by the sauce. Refrigerate 24 hours.

Heat grill. Thread lamb onto wooden skewers, being careful not to pack them in too closely or they won't cook evenly. You do not have to wipe off any marinade that is clinging to the meat. Grill about 5 minutes per side, until they are pink in the middle. Serve with reserved sauce.


Anonymous said...

I thought of you when I saw a blurb about the Pro-Am the other day! :) Your dish looks delish! I actually have a hard time finding American lamb usually. That's the first question I ask, whether at a market or a restaurant. I do find lamb from Australia or New Zealand to be gamey. I have read that you can soak it in milk to reduce that, but I haven't tried it yet.

Kathy said...

These look great - I am TERRIFIED of grilling things. #somethingaboutsingedeyebrows I love how we all went in totally different directions with our lamb. SO versatile and awesome.

Sam @ The Second Lunch said...

Oo! Seconding Cathy and Chris here - these look wonderful. I also really like parsnip chips/fries/anything with parsnips. We didn't have them often as a child, but when I went back to nutrition school, our study group was assigned the team-name parsnip (it was a hippy school), and I went into parsnip overdrive.

Anonymous said...

It looks and sounds great. I like your idea in using yoghurt to marinate. I shall try it next time.