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On the Lamb

Lamb, so beloved elsewhere in the world, is underrepresented on American tables: Per capita consumption here is about 1 pound per year. Steven Raichlen's succulent Lamb on the Rod with mini sweet peppers could be the recipe that turns the statistical tide. Then it's double-digit thick and double-digit good Lamb Chops and Lamb Steaks served with a Parsley Onion relish and a tangy Feta Cheese Sauce. The Professor is on the lamb at BBQ U.

With Grilled Tomatoes and Peppers

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Adapted from:BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Direct
Yield: Serves 4
Advance Preparation: 30 minutes for marinating the lamb

1-1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed with the side of a cleaver
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 small mild green peppers
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, rinsed and shaken dry
8 baby bell peppers (mix of red, orange, yellow)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
8 ripe plum tomatoes

You’ll also need:
8 long (10-inch) or 16 short (6-inch) metal skewers

1. Place the lamb in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the dried mint, salt, and black pepper over it. Toss the meat with your fingers to mix. Stir in the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the oil and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil on the horn peppers, the baby bells, the onion quarters, and the plum tomatoes.

2. Thread the marinated lamb on skewers, placing a fresh mint leaf between each piece of meat. Thread the green peppers, the baby bell peppers, the onion quarters, and the plum tomatoes on separate skewers, alternating the vegetables in an attractive pattern.

3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

4. When ready to grill, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the lamb and vegetable kebabs on the hot grate and grill until the lamb is cooked to medium, 2 to 3 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all) and the vegetables are tender.

5. Unskewer the lamb and vegetables onto a platter or plates. (Don’t eat the lamb or vegetables off the hot metal skewers, or you’ll burn your lips.) Serve the lamb with the

tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

With Feta Cheese Sauce
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Source: Raichlen’s Indoor Grilling by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2004)
Method: Direct
Yield: Serves 4

4 lamb steaks (each about 1/2-inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Greek)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Feta Cheese Sauce (recipe follows)

1. Place the lamb steaks in a baking dish and brush both sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle the oregano and garlic over both sides of the steaks, then season them with salt and pepper. Let the lamb marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the grill to high.

3. When ready to cook, place the lamb steaks directly on the grill grate and cook until nicely brown and to the desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare; 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium. To test for doneness, use the poke method: When cooked to medium-rare, the meat should be gently yielding.

3. Meanwhile, place the onion and parsley in a bowl and stir to mix. Set aside until ready to serve.

4. Transfer the lamb steaks to a platter or plates and let rest for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the onion and parsley mixture over the lamb and serve the Feta Cheese Sauce on the side.

Feta Cheese Sauce

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

3 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled (about 6 tablespoons)
1/4 cup milk or water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
About 3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Coarse salt (kosher or sea; optional) and freshly ground black pepper

Place the feta, milk, olive oil, mayonnaise, paprika, and hot pepper flakes in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the cream and lemon juice and puree just to mix; overblending the cream may cause it to curdle. The sauce should be thick but pourable.

If it’s too thick, add up to 1 tablespoon more cream. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice as necessary, and salt and pepper, if desired, to taste.

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