Krazy Good Kebabs

Maybe the best lamb kebabs on the face of the planet—at least that’s how I felt on this particular night when we dined on these babies! A tangy, garlicky marinade made with lots of fresh oregano that paired perfectly with the full-flavored lamb in the Grilled Lamb, Tomato, and Halloumi Skewers. Not a lamb fan? You could use chicken or pork cubes in its place.

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The halloumi cheese block is cut into 16 equal pieces.

What the heck is halloumi? It is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk—and doesn’t melt! Unlike most cheeses, which melt at high heat, halloumi holds up well to grilling, so it makes a great addition to a kebab. The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella and has a salty flavor.

Having experienced not-so-pleasant results recently when cutting lamb into 1-inch cubes for kebabs, this time I cut them into 1 3/4″ to 2″ chunks. Russ grilled them at four minutes per side on high heat, turning once, resulting in perfectly medium-rare deliciousness.

We added slightly more garlic than the recipe calls for—which we almost always do. A boxed Zatarain’s Yellow Rice dish stood in for the orzo because it is gluten-free, although the following recipe includes the orzo directions. I did include all of the other ingredients into the rice, cutting the amount of the mixture to a 1/4 cup and topping some steamed green beans with the rest.

The halloumi cheese and lamb made a perfect combination, and the leftovers (if you have any) are great!

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Scallions are sliced and the fresh mint is ready to be minced.

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About 2 pounds of boneless lamb leg is cut into almost 2-inch chunks.

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Halloumi cheese squares and lamb chunks are tossed with the marinade.

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 10 oz. (1-1/2 cups) dried orzo
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 48 pieces)
  • 8 oz. halloumi, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 whole scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste

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We have used this style of tossable skewers twice now and find they work great—the food stays in place and does not turn.

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Meat, cheese and tomatoes are threaded onto skewers. 

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After 4 minutes Russ turned the skewers and grilled for another 4 minutes.

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The sauce was mixed into our rice side and drizzled over steamed green beans.

Directions

  1. Put the lamb and halloumi in a large bowl. In a small container with a lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Toss the orzo with 1/3 cup of the mixture and pour the rest over the lamb and halloumi, tossing to coat.
  2. Thread 6 pieces of lamb, 2 pieces of halloumi, and 2 tomatoes onto each of eight 12-inch metal skewers, alternating a tomato and a piece of cheese between every 2 pieces of lamb.
  3. Grill, turning once, until the halloumi is browned and the lamb is pink in the center (cut into a piece to check), 4 to 6 minutes total.
  4. While the lamb is cooking, toss the scallions, mint, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with the orzo (or rice.) Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve the skewers with the orzo.

By Adeena Sussman from Fine Cooking

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