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Turkish Shish Kebabs with Garlicky Tahini

Turkish pit masters devised an ingenious "divide and conquer" approach to shish kebabs: They grill the meat and vegetables separately to allow foods with different cooking times to reach the perfect degree of doneness.

Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4

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  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil, for the grill
  • Garlicky Tahini
  • Lemon wedges and pita bread, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried mint and oregano. Add the lamb, toss to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 3 hours.
  2. Thread the lamb onto skewers, placing 1 fresh mint leaf between the pieces of meat. Skewer alternate pieces of onion and bell pepper and brush lightly with olive oil.
  3. Light a grill. Lightly brush the grate with vegetable oil and grill the lamb and vegetables over a medium-hot fire, turning frequently, until the lamb is medium, about 6 minutes, and the vegetables are tender and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Let the kebabs stand for 2 minutes, then serve with the Garlicky Tahini, lemon wedges and pita bread.

Suggested Pairing

The berrylike fruit of a young, robust Zinfandel has an affinity with grilled lamb, especially when the dish includes pungent garlic and herbs.

Contributed By Photo © William Meppem Published June 2001

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