Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lamb skewers with yogurt sauce

I got caught short the other day. I was planning to make dolmades, stuffed grape leaves, using leaves from our huge grape arbor behind the house. I picked the leaves a few weeks ago and stored them according to directions I found on the web. When I got them out they were covered with mold; and we had a freeze last night which rendered the remaining grape leaves outside unusable.

So I got the idea to make teeny lamb skewers as an appetizer for a dinner party we were giving last Friday night. I made something like this once before. They were considerable larger and were quite good. I have no recipe, but know how to make one up.

Mini lamb skewers
1 lb lamb, ground
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
7 oz. Greek-style yogurt*
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh mint
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
salt and pepper

Cook the onion in 1 tsp olive oil until translucent. Set aside to cool.

Preheat broiler.

When the onion is cool, combine with lamb, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper, and the lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until thoroughly incorporated. Make one small rectangle, about 1” x ½”. Microwave it for 30 seconds and taste for seasonings.

Shape into similar small rectangles. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with Pam and broil close to the heat for 2 minutes. Rotate the pan 90° and continue broiling for 2 more minutes. Turn the lamb pieces over and broil another 3 minutes, rotating the pan again halfway through.

Remove from the oven. Reduce oven to 170°. Place a toothpick in each patty through the narrow end. Recover with foil and keep warm in the oven.

Mix yogurt, lemon juice, mint, garlic, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Serve as a dip for the skewered lamb.

*At our supermarket we can get 7 oz. containers of real Greek yogurt. It is thicker and tastier by far than more generic yogurts. The plastic container it comes in is just large enough to mix the sauce in it without dirtying an extra bowl. If you can’t get real Greek yogurt, take 6-7 oz. of plain yogurt (lo-fat if you wish, but not no-fat if your diet can accommodate it) and place it in a fine-mesh strainer. Let it drip into the sink for 30 min. to an hour. Then proceed with the recipe as above.

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