Your Basic Shish Kebab

June 11, 2014 Updated: June 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Your Basic Shish Kebab


Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg 1 large onion 1 red bell pepper 1 yellow or green bell pepper or poblano pepper 16 fresh or dried bay leaves or fresh basil leaves (optional) 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea) 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 bunch fresh tarragon, basil or rosemary (3 tablespoons finely chopped, plus a couple of whole branches for basting) 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or dry white wine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Cut the lamb into 1-inch chunks. Be sure to include the fatty parts; these will baste the meat as they melt, keeping the kebabs moist. Peel the onion and cut it in half crosswise. Cut each half into 6 wedges. Separate the onion chunks into individual layers. Stem and seed the peppers and cut them into 1-inch squares.

Thread the lamb onto two skewers. Thread onion pieces, pepper squares and bay leaves or basil leaves, if using on two skewers. Arrange the kebabs in a large baking pan.

In a mixing bowl place the garlic, salt, and pepper and, using a wooden spoon, mash them together. Mash in the chopped tarragon and lemon zest. Whisk in the lemon juice or wine followed by the 1/2 cup of olive oil and any small pieces of onion left over from cutting the onions.

Pour two-thirds of the marinade over the kebabs, turning them so they marinate evenly. Set aside the remaining marinade for basting. Let the kebabs marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 4 hours; the longer the kebabs marinate, the richer the flavor will be. Turn the kebabs a few times so they marinate evenly.

To grill the kebabs: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the kebabs. Arrange vegetable skewers on the hot grate. Grill until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Grill the lamb kebabs until browned on all sides and cooked to taste, about 2 minutes per side (about 8 minutes in all) for medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side (about 12 minutes in all) for medium. After about 4 minutes, start basting the kebabs with the reserved marinade, using the rosemary sprigs as a basting brush.

Transfer the kebabs to a platter and baste them one final time. Remove the skewers and serve.

Source: Steven Raichlen's "Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys."

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