Aug 5, 2011
Lamb Meatball Kebabs With Mint Jelly Glaze
Makes 4 main course servings or 8 appetizers
The combination of toasted pine nuts and fresh and dried herbs gives these kebabs a rich flavor and tender but nutty texture. This recipe is a bit fussy because the raw lamb meatballs are very delicate and need to be handled gently when they’re placed on the skewer and when you’re turning them on the grill. But man, are they worth the trouble! This is an unbelievably succulent kebab. Serve it as an appetizer or as a main course with some rice, tabouleh and grilled vegetables.
eight 7-inch | 18 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
1/2 cup | 125 mL mint jelly
1/4 cup | 50 mL water
1/2 cup | 125 mL pine nuts
1 lb | 500 g ground lamb
1/2 cup | 125 mL fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped cilantro
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dried mint
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dried oregano
1/4 tsp | 1 mL freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp | 2 mL kosher salt
generous grinding black pepper
2 or 3 small zucchini, sliced into 3/4-inch | 2 cm discs
10 ripe cherry tomatoes
10 smallish button mushrooms, or 5 larger ones cut in half
Combine the mint jelly and water in a small saucepan and heat the mixture, stirring, until the jelly is melted. Set it aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Remove them from the pan, cool them for a few minutes, and then coarsely chop the nuts. Gently but thoroughly combine the ground lamb, pine nuts, breadcrumbs, egg, cilantro, parsley, mint, chives, oregano, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a nonreactive bowl.
Wetting your hands to prevent sticking, shape the lamb mixture into about 25 1-inch | 2.5 cm balls. Thread the meatballs onto 5 to 8 soaked bamboo skewers, alternating them with the zucchini discs, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. (Press the vegetables gently against the meatballs to help hold them in place while grilling.) At this point, you can refrigerate the completed skewers, covered with plastic wrap, for an hour or two.
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat and oil the grill. Spray the kebabs with cooking spray or brush them with oil and place them on the grill. Cook them for 4–5 minutes per side, or until the meatballs are cooked through, brushing them with the mint jelly glaze during grilling. (Note: These kebabs are touchy. Be careful when you turn them to ensure the meatballs stay on the skewer. The trick here is to start with a clean cooking grate and to not touch them for at least the first three or four minutes of cooking time, so the meatballs have a chance to firm up before you start moving them.)
(Photo copyright John Sinal Photography. Used with permission)