Sadly, not everyone likes lamb.
Be it for the flavor or because of personal belief, lots of people I know simply won't eat it. Shame that, but at least there's more left for the rest of us who DO enjoy the delicate flavor!
Now, the only real way to eat lamb is when it's been grilled. This means, of course, I have to fire up my grill. Firing up the Ol' Weber in the middle of a snowstorm is bizarre enough but grilling for any reason past September 15th in Germany puts you firmly in the "crazier than a shithouse rat" category. You can't even buy charcoal after the beginning of October! Not to mention all of the commentary I get from my colleagues/neighbors/bystanders/people walking their dogs: "What? Grilling in this weather? It's too cold!" or "Can you really still grill in Winter?"
So, people give me shit about grilling in December - let 'em! I get really tasty lamb and they don't!
Let's get this show on the road, shall we?
Fire and ice:
Now, we usually buy a boneless lamb shoulder for the kebabs and grind it ourselves - mostly because we can't get pre-ground lamb.
In this mixture comes salt, pepper, fresh and dried coriander, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and cumin. I chop a couple of small jalapenos in and grate the onions with the Big Cheese Grater directly into the meat. This actually makes a difference, as the aroma of the onions comes through very strongly and the texture of the onion is much different. Try it and see - well, from all the crying maybe you won't see!
Once you mix that all together, the mass is pressed onto special "swords" I have for grilling ground meats over fire. The flat of the blade keeps the meat on while cooking - otherwise the weight of the meat would simply fall of the standard skewer. I also lightly oil the kebabs before grilling as it helps brown them nicely and makes them less likely to stick to the cutting board I am setting them on.
Once formed, the kebabs are suspended over the fire - they never touch the grate! Turn regularly until the sides become brown and crisp. Do not over cook, as the lamb that we spent tons of cash on will become bone dry and your guests will make evil comments about you and refuse all future invitations to eat your lamb.
To compliment the meat, Anna and I make a tzaziki with buckets of fresh garlic. Now, I know that tzaziki isn't quite correct for the Middle Eastern origins of this recipe but it tastes damned good and the grated cucumber (the Big Cheese Grater is getting quite the workout!) is a really nice, fresh counterpoint to the richness of the lamb.
It's easier (and better) to buy my Pide from the döner joint down the street - he gets them fresh daily.
Slice that thing open, lay in some tzaziki, lamb, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, Aleppo pepper flakes, and then close. Take in both hands and enjoy!
It doesn't get much better.
I bid you Peace,