I finally broke out – and cleaned – the grill after what was one of the coldest, wettest “winters” on record here in Southern California. I had a lot of fun making many warming soups and stews and one pot wonders that were perfect for cold winter nights, but now that we’re at the beginning of April things are really starting to warm up. This recipe for Lamb Kebabs, Rice Pilaf, and Homemade Hummus is both simple and good. Also, it invites you to adapt and create – no grill? Use the broiler; it’ll work fine. Make your own marinade for the lamb or use mine; add whatever spices and flavors suit your fancy to the hummus and pilaf. Have fun and be creative.
For the Hummus:
- About 3 tablespoons tahini (unsweetened natural almond or peanut butter will work in a pinch)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons cumin
- Whatever other spices you’d like to add, just don’t overdo it
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
- Olive oil
For the Rice Pilaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- Whatever else you want to put in there, but again, keep it simple
- 3 cups water
- 1 & 1/2 cups medium grain rice
- 1/2 cup orzo
For the Lamb Kebabs:
- 1 boneless or semi-boneless leg of lamb, cubed into 1-2 inch chunks
- 5-7 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 2 whole lemons
- Glug (that’s a specific measurement…not) of olive oil, approximately 2-3 tablespoons
- Chunked onions or bell peppers, or neither, or both
For the Hummus:
Add ingredients 1-6 to a food processor and turn on. Allow ingredients to mix well, 1-2 minutes. With the motor running, add garbanzo beans, about 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting 10 seconds between batches. With the motor still running, begin to drizzle in olive oil. You may need to stop to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Continue this process until hummus reaches desired consistency, 5-7 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed. When served, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a dash of paprika as a garnish.
For the Rice Pilaf:
Heat olive oil in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds more. Add turmeric and whatever other spices you’re using, and sauté until fragrant, 15 seconds more. Add water and bring to a boil. Add rice and orzo. Cover, return to a boil then and reduce to a bare simmer. Cook covered until rice and orzo have absorbed all the liquid in the pot, 25-30 minutes. No peaking; steam cooks rice.
For the Lamb:
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and allow to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour and up to four.
Using metal or wooden skewers. Soak wood skewers in water for for an hour if using. Assemble kebabs, alternating between lamb, onions, and peppers, by skewering them onto skewers (did I say skewer enough?)
Preheat grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Use wood chips for smokiness if you like. Grill lamb kebabs, covered, turning every 3-4 minutes, until nicely charred and internal temperature of lamb is between 130°F – 140°F, depending on desired doneness.
Serve rice and hummus family style along with kebabs. This is the kind of meal that can be eaten around the table, or while standing grazing in the kitchen with a nice glass of wine or a beer. Also, I served this particular dish tonight with Brazilian Style Collard Greens from my fellow food blogger Aline Shaw. The pairing was spectacular.