Shake up your grilling routines with these savory, herby, sweet, and fatty lamb, haloumi, and apricot kebabs that hit all the right notes— fast.
Take me to the recipe!
What is a kebab? Sometimes it’s cubes of meat and/or vegetables on a stick (think shish kebab). Other times, a kebab is a mountain of meat cooked on a rotating stick and then shaved off and served (think doner kebab, shawarma, or al pastor). And, confusingly, sometimes what is considered “kebab” is meat cooked and served nowhere near a stick.
For our purposes, we’re sticking close to a shish kebab.
But here’s what I don’t like about this method: Not all ingredients cook at the same rate. Why should I have to choose between undercooked meat/crispy vegetables and cooked meat/disintegrating vegetables? I say, we don’t have to.
My solution is to cook the meat on a skewer, cook the cheese and apricots directly on the grill, and then skewer them all for serving. Good, right? RIGHT! I mean, it’s not perfect. Some of the meat cooks faster because the cubes aren’t exactly the same size. And it’s important to leave a little bit of space between the cubes so that the heat gets all around. But you control the doneness far more when the kebab elements are cooked individually.
A note about haloumi: If you’ve never had this squeeky, salty cheese, please rectify this immediately. This cheese adds so much flavor and seasoning to any dish. But when it’s cold, it makes a squeeking noise when it’s chewed, which can throw off anyone with any sort of sensory issues around food. Eating it hot off of the grill or pan makes it more gooey than squeeky, which is why the cheese cooks longer than the meat in this dish.
A note on the kid-appeal of these kebabs: It’s fun to eat things off of a skewer! This dish also has plenty of salty and sweet elements with the grilled cheese and fruit, which is also appealing to kids. But for some reason, mine wouldn’t touch this. I found it too delicious not to post, so this may be one of the grownups and not the kids. But who knows? Next month, M might gobble these up. Who can say?
Grilled lamb, haloumi, and apricot skewers
Total time ime: 30 minutes (all active- 15 minutes of prep and 15 of cooking)
Yield: 4-5 skewers
1 lb lamb stew meat cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4-5 medium apricots, ripe, but not falling apart, quartered
8 oz haloumi cheese, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Heat your grill to low.
Place the lamb cubes in a large bowl. Top with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic and mix up. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Cut the haloumi into 6-8, 1/4-inch slices. Halve the apricots.
Make the sauce. (See directions below.)
Skewer 5-6 lamb cubes onto sticks. Try to keep like-sized pieces together.
Bring all of your ingredients out to the grill and cook with the following timing:
Cook the haloumi for 2 minutes.
Add the lamb skewers and cook everything for 3-4 minutes.
Flip both the haloumi and the lamb.
Add the apricots, cut side down and cook everything (fruit, cheese, and meat) for 3-4 minutes.
Check the lamb. If it has reached an internal temperature of 145 and you don’t see any obvious rare spots, take the skewers off. If they need more time, keep them on the grill while you continue cooking the fruit and cheese.
Flip the apricots. Continue cooking the fruit and cheese for 2-3 more minutes.
Your aim is for medium rare meat, cheese with dark brown grill marks and that is a little gooey all over, but staying together in one piece, and apricots that are deep orange and softer, but not falling apart. If any of the elements seem to be cooking too fast, take them off!
1/4 cup toasted cashews/walnuts/pistachios
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
10 fresh mint leaves (fairly large)
2-3 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
5 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Toast the cashews in a large skillet over a medium flame, OR in a 350 degree oven, for about 5 minutes until the nuts are lightly brown and smell aromatic.
Add the nuts and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until well mixed.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.