Roasting meat on a spit is an ancient and ancestral gesture, a ritual that has been taking place for millennia. Whether they are souvlaki, kebabs, kebabs or lamb shish kebab, the name changes, but not the substance. Shish means only skewer, nothing fancy.
The kebab (کباب in Arabic) was part of a fundamental evolution of humanity, a natural gesture. You capture the prey, which is torn to pieces and then roasted on fire to survive. Even Homer underlines the importance of the “ritual barbecue”, where the Greeks were used to sacrifice an animal to the gods, before eating the roasted meat.
You are wondering why this introduction and I’ll answer you right away. If once the animal was sacrificed today it is the animal, the food that has become sacred: the foodie frenzy puts food on an otherwise empty altar and drives us to a spasmodic search for glossy photos and trendy Instagram posts.
What is shish kebab meat and what cut is used?
That’s all, these were my thoughts while I was chopping up a nice leg of lamb to prepare some delicious Turkish skewers, the famous lamb shish kebabs. I love lamb, I love cumin too, so why not? And by the way, if don’t find the lamb leg you can use the shoulder too. Donìt worry it’s perfect.
Ingredients for preparing the Turkish lamb shish kebabs
- lamb pulp 900 grams
- olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 2 red onions
- 4 pide, the Turkish pita
To make the rub
- 5 grams of caraway seeds
- 5 grams of coriander seeds
- 5 grams of cinnamon
- 15 grams of salt
- 5 grams of pepper
- plenty of thyme
How to prepare Turkish lamb shish kebabs
As a cut of meat for skewers I recommend the leg of lamb: it is rich in pulp and flavor and the price is honest.
I recommend taking it out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before grilling it.
Cut the meat into cubes of 2 centimeters side. Remove any fat excess.
Massage the meat with olive oil, collect the spices in a coffee grinder and grind them without mercy. Put in a bowl and season the meat in the rub.
Stick the meat in the skewers. If you use wooden ones, let them soak in water for at least 1 hour before grilling. If you use metallic ones, be careful!
How do you cook shish kebabs?
Light the barbecue and get ready for direct cooking. Cook the shish kebabs of lamb for 12-14 minutes, turning them every 3 and brushing them with a mixture of oil and lemon.
What to serve with shish kebabs?
Meanwhile, cut 2 red onions into thin slices and season with paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and oil: it will be a rustic, but delicious side dish to pair with the strongly flavored lamb. A small tomato salad seasoned with garlic, oil, and lemon is another option as a side dish. A handful of cabbage seasoned with oil and apple cider vinegar will help degrease the palate between bites of lamb too.
Heat some pide, the Turkish pita, when the shish kebabs are almost ready and then stuff them with meat, onion and a good tzatziki spoon or even just plain Greek yogurt. Now wear your best fez and enjoy a flaky shish kebab!
What wine goes well with Turkish shish kebabs?
The sweet and “wild” flavor of the lamb and the aromatic, but not hot, rub require a warm, tannic and sumptuous red wine like the Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere or a great Nero d’Avola from Sicily.
If you want to pair a cocktail with Turkish shish kebabs the Manhattan is the perfect drink.