Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lamb Souvlaki Recipe: Grilled Lamb Cubes Cooked Greek Style

Lamb Souvlaki
Lamb Souvlaki is the first Greek Food I ever tasted!

Souvlaki (also called Souvlakia) is the first Greek food I remember ever tasting as a college student, and recently I realized that although I have a recipe for Souvlaki using pork, I'd never made this traditional Greek dish using lamb. Wikipedia defines Souvlaki as "a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables, grilled on a skewer." For this version, I defied tradition by cooking the pieces of marinated lamb directly on the grill.

The most essential herb in Greek cooking is oregano, and it must be Greek Oregano, as opposed to Mexican Oregano, which truly does have a different flavor. In Greece, most cooks have a jar of dried oregano right by the stove, and the dried version is often preferred over fresh oregano, since drying concentrates the flavor. Although I have plenty of oregano in my garden, when I'm using it in a marinade like this recipe, I agree that the dried oregano is best. I wrote about Greek Oregano for Weekend Herb Blogging more than a year ago, and now here it is week #94 of bloggers writing about herbs, plants, vegetables, and flowers. I'm hosting this week, so if you want to join the fun, read the rules, then send your entry to kalynskitchen (at) comcast (dot) net by 3:00 on Sunday, Utah time. Now, here are some step-by-step photos of how I made this delicious Lamb Souvlaki.

Cut lamb into cubes a little over one inch square. I trimmed off most of the fat to keep this dish South Beach Diet friendly, but do leave on a bit of the fat for flavor.

Combine marinade ingredients and marinate the lamb cubes about 4 hours inside a small Ziploc bag placed in the refrigerator.

Drain off marinade and let lamb cubes come to room temperature while your grill heats, then grill the lamb either on skewers, or directly on the grill as I did here. Be sure not to overcook; I cooked my lamb about 8 minutes for medium rare.

Lamb Souvlaki (Grilled Lamb Cubes cooked Greek Style)

(Makes 2-3 servings, recipe can be doubled or tripled. Recipe inspired by The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines, one of my favorite cookbooks, so old you can get it for $.01 at Amazon.com by following that link!)

Ingredients:
1 lb. lamb shoulder meat

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil (preferably Greek olive oil)
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic or garlic puree

Instructions:
Cut lamb into pieces slightly over one inch square, trimming off some, but not all of the fat. Combine marinade ingredients. Place lamb cubes and marinade in small Ziploc bag and marinate in refrigerator for about 4 hours. (This is a recipe where I would not recommend marinating all day. The lamb is already tender, and you don't want the marinade ingredients to overpower the flavor of the lamb.)

To cook, preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds at that heat.) Thread lamb cubes onto skewers if desired, or place directly on grill as I did. Cook lamb about 8 minutes for medium rare, or 9-10 minutes for medium. Don't overcook, I highly recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer to tell when the lamb is done.

Serve hot. This would taste great with Tzatziki Sauce. Lamb for this recipe was generously provided by the American Lamb Board.

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South Beach Suggestions:

Well-trimmed lamb like this is a good choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, you could make some Grilled Zucchini while you cooked the lamb, and add something like American Greek Salad. For phase two or three, I'd want to have have this with Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi.

More Delicious Souvlaki Recipes
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Kalyn's Souvlaki (with pork)
Souvlaki with Pork and Halloumi from Little Foodies
Leanne's Simple Souvlaki Marinade from Kirsten's Home Cooking
Greek Lamb Kabobs from The Paupered Chef
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17 comments:

Valli said...

Souvlakia is one my favourite Greek dishes as well. Thanks for all the tips!!!

Kat @ TheWeighWeWere.com said...

WOW, That looks tasty! (and easy - which is important to me :) ) Is it ok if I add you to my Blog Roll at TheWeighWeWere.com? Many of my readers will be very interested in your recipes!

Kelly Mahoney said...

The shot of the lamb pieces on the grill is so cool. I've never eaten lamb on a regular basis, I may have to start.

Debbie said...

This looks really good, Kalyn. I want to eat more lamb too, I've relatively recently "discovered" it. So far I've only made lamb rib chops - AWESOME but very expensive so only an occasional treat. I have bad leg of lamb memories from childhood, chiefly of it stinking up the whole house. So do you have to go to a market with an actual butcher and just ask for a pound of shoulder meat? I don't think I've ever noticed lamb at my regular supermarket. Sorry for the ignorant question, but I'd love to start cooking it more!

Kalyn said...

Valli, me too (although I love just about every type of Greek food!)

Kat, that would be great!

Kelly, I do like to take those photos on the grill, but I keep forgetting to change the white balance when I go outside. I honestly don't know if I changed it on this photo or not, but some of my "on the grill" shots turn out pretty bad!

Debbie, I would definitely ask the butcher to get lamb shoulder for you, or you can also use leg of lamb, which is more tender but also more expensive. I would use either of those for this recipe. Costco is a good place to buy lamb.

Lydia said...

That looks so good! I love that it's easier to get good lamb in the supermarket now than ever before. And of course I am devoted to Costco, too! I think the secret to lamb is not to overcook it.

katiez said...

That is a lovely lamb dish! I bet the flavors really got into the meat.
I wonder what the taste difference is between Mexican and Greek oregano... And I wonder which I have in my garden....

Kevin said...

This dish looks really nice. The marinade sounds tasty. I now have another lamb dish on my to try list.

Kalyn said...

Lydia, I agree, and I love lamb!

Katie, how do you describe taste, but I think the Mexican kind is a bit stronger. Both taste good to me, but they are definitely different.

Kevin, never too many things to make with lamb, that's what I say.

Ed Tep said...

Kalyn - I am completely salivating right now! And I just happen to have Greek oregano so I definitely want to try this soon!

farmgirl said...

You know I love it when you post lamb recipes! And yet another one that sounds delish. Thanks, Kalyn.

Anna said...

yum, looking at your photos makes me wish jonas wasn't a vegetarian and we could whip this up for dinner!!!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We love LOVE lamb in this house!
The pork and halloumi were really good but I can smell the lamb & oregano souvlaki from the screen and I'd like some of that... maybe with a little minty tzatziki on the side..

sher said...

Yum, yum, yum! That looks so good! You have the best lamb recipes.

Andrew Abraham said...

Your Souvlaki looks amazing..all the steps in which you delinated help all of us.. I have printed your recipe and will try it...looking forward..thanks

Andy
www.recipebuddys.com

neil said...

We are having a bbq tomorrow and were talking about doing souvlaki, perfect timing. Did you know some Greeks, rather than using oregano from the jar, keep whole bunches of the herb dried on the stalks and rub just the tips into their dishes, they say it has the best flavour.

Kalyn said...

Neil, have fun at the barbecue! I hadn't heard that about using the tips of the dried oregano, very interesting. I have some oregano growing, maybe I will try drying some!

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