Adam and I decided last week that we needed to be a bit more adventurous in our cooking. The time has come to expand our limits a bit further and tread waters that have been previously unexplored in our little kitchen. In order to do so, we made the decision to purchase one item each week, be it a meat, spice, grain, vegetable, really anything will do, that we have not previously used, or at least not used very often or in a long time. So, last week while we were at the store we had a whole new task at hand: find an adventurous ingredient and we did just that when Adam threw ground lamb into the cart.
A few days went by and I kept thinking about the ground lamb that was sitting in our freezer. I had no idea what to make with it. I thought about lamb meatballs, but that seemed too easy considering we already make meatballs. I considered some type of pasta for awhile, but again, that didn’t seem different enough from our regular routine. I thought about flatbreads, burgers, and basically anything that I had made with ground beef in the past, but nothing seemed right for our new experiment.
My memory then took me back to the several months that Adam and I both spent studying abroad in Fremantle, Australia (also the place where we “officially” first meet and started dating). There was this wonderful, little, hole in the wall place, where the owner barley spoke any english, but made one heck of a kebab. He had every kind of kebab you could imagine and each one was better than the last. He of course always had lamb kebabs. The perfect first recipe to start off our new adventure.
I was actually shocked at just how easy these kebabs were to make. It only took a few ingredients and a little bit of time. They are a great option for a weeknight meal when you need something in 30 minutes or less. Here is how I made ours:
I started off by combining the package of ground lamb, about 1/2 of an onion finely chopped, roughly 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, approximately 1/2 teaspoon of 9 spice curry powder (a great christmas present from my in-laws!), a little salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of Panko crumbs and 1 egg all in a large bowl.
With my hands, I mixed all the ingredients together until fully incorporated. You do not want the mixture to be too wet, otherwise it will be difficult to shape. If need be, you can always add a bit more Panko until reaching the right consistency. You also do not want it to be too dry. If it seems a bit dry, you may need a second egg. Once the mixture is complete, I simply formed long patties with my hands and placed the lamb on a baking sheet.
Now I would have preferred to grill the kebabs (and would have put them on skewers in that case), but we unfortunately have yet to purchase a grill for our new place – something I need to fix as soon as possible. I was stuck with the next best option which was the oven. I baked the kebabs at 425 degrees for about 17- 20 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, I drained off the excess oil that had accumulated and then flipped the kebabs to ensure that they would brown on both sides. Once fully cooked, I let the kebabs rest on paper towels to help extract any left over oil.
To assemble the kebabs I took whole wheat naan which I had toasted a bit in the warm oven, spread them with baba ghanoush hummus and then layered with the lamb, fresh tomato and spring lettuce.
This was a great start to our new adventure in cooking. The cinnamon and curry added just the right amount of spice, while still allowing the flavor of the lamb to come through and the kebabs themselves were almost too easy to make. A perfect week night meal and a perfect reminder of those great days in Australia. Now we just need to get back to Fremantle so that we can compare our kebabs to our favorite little vendor. Perhaps a trip to the land of Oz for our second wedding anniversary, Adam….?