Lamb skewers are the perfect food for outdoor get-togethers

Lilly Higgins: Lamb Skewers with Tzatziki Salad

 

The first time we went to Greece we ate tzatziki every single day. With almost every meal. Breakfast was thick creamy yogurt with floral scented honey and for lunch and dinner we ate grilled vegetables, meat and so much tzatziki.

It was fantastic to see how a dish could be made so differently in each place we visited. Some cubed the cucumber while others grated it. Mint, dill or a bit of both were usually added along with garlic in varying amounts and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. The yoghurt based sauce just goes with everything and we ate it regularly upon our return too.

This lovely salad has all of the same ingredients as your typical tzatziki but I’ve peeled the cucumber into long strips instead. You can add strips of carrot or grated raw beetroot too. I’ve drizzled the finished dish with harissa oil so the cool yogurt dressing is peppered with bursts of fiery chilli. This is perfect with grilled lamb chops but I love serving it with lamb skewers. Marinated lamb cooked alongside seasonal vegetables, it’s a great way to incorporate vegetables at a barbecue.

Skewers are a perfect dish when you’re planning a family get together. They can sit, covered, in the fridge overnight and be thrown on the barbecue at the last minute. My aim this summer is to cook on the barbecue more, invite more people over and enjoy the warm weather while we have it. It feels so sociable to cook out of doors over fire. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend an evening; chatting outside as the sun goes down with big platters of food and the smell of smoke in the warm evening air.

Lamb Skewers with Tzatziki Salad

Serves 4

For the salad:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 15g dill, mint or coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 200g Greek yogurt
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • For the lamb:
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g cubed lamb
  • 16 button mushrooms
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 red onions, halved and then quartered into chunks

To serve: Coriander or mint, warm flatbreads

You will also need: 8 metal skewers

Place the cumin, coriander, salt and oil into a large ziploc bag or bowl. Mix to form a paste then add the diced lamb. Leave to marinade for an hour or longer if possible.

To make the tzatziki peel the cucumber into long thin strips. Discard the seeded centre or keep it for juicing. Lay the cucumber strips on kitchen paper and pat them as dry as you can.

Mix the yoghurt with the garlic and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil then toss the cucumber strips in the yogurt dressing. Place on a platter. Mix 1 tsp harissa paste with 2 tbsp. oil to form a smooth harissa oil. Drizzle this over the salad and scatter over some fresh herbs. Set aside.

Thread the meat onto the skewers along with the mushrooms, tomatoes, pepper and onion, alternating them so each skewer has the same amount of each. Brush any leftover marinade over the kebabs. You can then lay the kebabs on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven, 200C, for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through or barbecue them till the lamb is just cooked, about 7 minutes. Layer the kebabs on a serving plate and scatter with some fresh herbs before serving with the tzatziki salad and some warm flat bread.

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