Middle Eastern Lamb Skewers

Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia adds onion juice or pureed onions to his Middle Eastern–style marinades to tenderize and caramelize the meat. The marinade is great on chicken breast as well as lamb.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Time(Other): Plus 6 hr marinating


  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 1/4 pounds trimmed lamb loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Warm pita and Greek-style plain yogurt for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a blender, combine the onion, garlic, parsley sprigs, lemon zest, lemon juice, allspice, salt and saffron and puree until smooth. Transfer the marinade to a resealable plastic bag, add the cubed lamb and turn to coat. Seal the bag, pressing out any air. Refrigerate the lamb for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.

  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Drain the lamb, shaking off the excess marinade. Thread the lamb onto 4 long skewers, leaving a bit of room between the cubes. Brush the lamb with the oil and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes for medium-rare meat. Serve the lamb skewers with warm pita and yogurt.

Suggested Pairing

Lamb and Shiraz are a classic match, partly because many good Australian Shirazes have a meaty spiciness that complements lamb. The origin of the word Shiraz—from the similarly named city in Iran—also makes for a nice affinity between the wine and this Middle Eastern–inspired dish (though the grape itself is actually from France's Rhône valley).

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published June 2009

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