Spiced Meat Kebabs
1 1⁄2 lbs. ground lamb OR beef OR chicken
6 tbsp. grated onion
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. crushed Aleppo chili pepper OR paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. dried mint leaves, crumbled
with your fingers
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
optional: pinch to 1 tbsp. kosher salt
1. Combine lamb and onion in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add aleppo pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, mint, and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
3. Pour the spice mixture over the reserved lamb mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands.
How to Prepare for the Skewer
1. Divide lamb mixture into 4 portions and roll each into a thin cylinder about 10" long and 1" thick.
2. Slide a flat metal skewer OR bamboo skewer into each cylinder and press the meat around the skewer.
3. Transfer skewers to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Grill or broil the kebabs (I have made them on a Panini press too) , turning once, until browned and nicely charred on the outside and medium on the inside, about 4 minutes per side.
Pairs Well With
Growing up and living in Los Angeles, California, one eventually discovers that there is a large Persian (Iranian) community, mostly Jewish, that is not only notably rich, but changing the culinary landscape of the city. This translated into me eating a diet mostly and or totally devoid of pork and although this recipe could be easily prepared with ground pork or a mixture of ground pork and ground lamb and chicken, I decidedly chose not to include it as an ingredient. This being said, my son and I have made this meal many times and have experimented with some of the ingredients, such as the paprika - using sweet or smoked versions from Williams -Sonoma. Personally, I don't think the smoked version improved the dish. I have also tried the sweet Hungarian paprika or Pimenton De La Vera, dulce (Paprika, Smoked Spanish, Sweet) but plain ol' paprika is really the best. It's also easier to find and less expensive.