We ate those gorgeous spiced lamb skewers since they were on the cover of Bon Appétit’s Grilling Issue basically all through summer and haven’t stopped since. Why not, caraway & cumin are as much winter players as summer spices and their warm tones are welcome in cooler weather, just as heat & floral notes are provided by Sichuan, Aleppo and black pepper. Most importantly if you have two hurricanes, ahem babies, playing havoc with longwinded supper plans: they are super easy to prepare and quick to make (if you have your butcher debone and cut the lamb shoulder, of course, which you definitely should) and reward you with an explosion of flavour that revives the taste buds after a long, long day. This shall serve as explanation / excuse for missing photographic evidence since we always wolf them down the minute they leave the grill.
Grinding the spices from whole seeds is an imperative but miraculously, the rather generous measures of earthy, floral notes with a slight kick do not overpower the lamb but complete it and slight charring makes all the difference. I even cut smaller, quite tiny pieces than the original recipe dictates with a few other minor tweaks for maximum seasoned & barbecued meat surface.
This much spice needs a cooling agent and gets it in the garlic and lemon flavoured Greek yoghurt dip which is a match made in heaven. A quick shaved fennel & citrus salad is great company and shall make the dinner prep not a minute longer.
Something about the (temporarily) absent German recipe versions: Ich habe bislang auch eine deutsche Übersetzung der Rezepte geschrieben, mit Zwillingsbabies und ein paar Minuten hier und dort schaffe ich das im Moment nicht mehr. Gerne beantworte ich aber Fragen oder Erklärungen der Rezepte, Techniken und Ingredentien bzw. Bezugsquellen in den Kommentaren oder per mail.
Cumin-chile lamb skewers with lemon yoghurt
Adapted from Bon Appétit. The Grilling Issue. June 2016.
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red chile flakes or 3 peperoncini
1 small lamb shoulder, deboned, cut into 2cm / 1 inch or smaller pieces
250g / 1 cup Greek yoghurt
½-1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
lemon juice (to taste)
lemon zest (½ teaspoon)
If you are cooking on a barbecue, water wooden skewers for about 20 minutes. No need for this step if you are indoor-barbecuing on a griddle on the hob.
Grind spices in a pestle & mortar. Season lamb with salt & pepper and ground spices. Thread lamb dice onto wooden skewers and grill on a preheated cast-iron griddle until all sides are done and just beginning to char, ca. 8-12 minutes. Mix Greek yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice & lemon zest to taste and season with salt & pepper. Serve.