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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