It’d been over 3 years since I blogged about, or made, these tasty babies. My bad because they are delicious! In this recipe, tangy, garlicky marinade made with lots of fresh oregano pairs perfectly with full-flavored lamb. And the halloumi cheese, unlike most which melt at high heat, holds up well to grilling, so it makes a great addition to a kebab.
I made numerous changes this time around. For starters, I recalled the halloumi could easily crumble as it was threaded onto the skewer, and/or fall off into the grill, so for that reason and the fact that I wanted more of the outside to get brown and crispy, I cut it into smaller pieces and pan-fried it.
Next, I added red bell pepper and purple onion chunks to the outer ends of the skewers. This increased the veggie quotient and also utilized some leftover pieces in my vegetable bin that might otherwise have spoiled. The amount of cubed lamb was increased from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, and the sizes of the chunks were cut a bit larger at about 1 1/2 inches.
Instead of 16 smaller cherry tomatoes, I used 10 large, but that could change depending on how many skewers you use altogether. Everything fit onto 5 for us, but if you thread the cheese, you’ll likely use more. This time I made the orzo salad which I didn’t make before, and sooo glad I did, it was a wonderful pairing with the other ingredients!
Grilled Lamb, Tomato and Halloumi Skewers with Orzo Salad
- Kosher salt
- 10 oz. (1-1/2 cups) dried orzo
- 2 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 8 oz. halloumi, cut into 16 pieces, (32 if pan frying)
- 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
- 10-12 large cherry tomatoes
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into 10 equal chunks
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into 10 wedges from the outer layers, each 2 layers thick
- 3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
- Bring a 3-quart saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Prepare a medium (375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
- 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 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. 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.
- Thread skewers first with a piece of red pepper, followed onion, then by pieces of lamb, halloumi (if not pan frying), and tomatoes onto each of five to eight, 12-inch metal skewers. Alternating tomatoes, between lamb chunks and ending with onion and pepper last.
- Grill, turning once, until the the lamb is pink in the center (check with an instant read thermometer or cut into a piece to see), 6 to 7 minutes total.
If pan frying halloumi, put cheese slices in a skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until all sides are crispy brown.
- While the lamb is cooking, toss the scallions, mint, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper with the orzo. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Serve the skewers with the orzo. If you pan fried the halloumi, arrange the cheese pieces around the skewers on the platter.
from Fine Cooking