Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots

Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto

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!

Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto
Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto


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 kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto
Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto

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!

Serve immediately.

Herby sauce
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.

Butternut squash shakshuka

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Is it technically a shakshuka if there aren't any tomatoes or peppers? I mean, if we can pretend that swiss chard is the base for shakshuka, then butternut squash is acceptable in my book. Yes? Yes. Moving on.

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This week has been a test of how good I am at compartmentalizing. The answer is: not very good. I mean, I'm not terrible at it, but I'm certainly not myself with my mom being sick in the hospital. I think M is reacting by not sleeping and tantruming over some truly insane things.

Being a parent is really freaking hard, especially when your mental tank isn't full.

I keep reminding myself that it's not M's job to take care of me emotionally. It's okay for me not to be 100% all the time, but I also can't get mad at him for not somehow divining that I don't have it all together and being on his best behavior. 

Anyway, M is fed and clothed and bathed and read to and sung to and danced with and we built the international space station out of blocks, so I think I'm doing okay. And he wolfed down this spicy lamb, chickpea, and butternut squash stew, so he's doing okay too.

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A couple of notes about this dish: Use harissa spice instead of harissa paste. Some recipes call for the paste, but it's too spicy for my toddler. Don't be intimidated by the harissa or ras al hanout. Both are spice mixes that combine many of the usual suspects like cayenne, garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin.

Our harissa is somewhat old, so if you're concerned about the heat level for your family, taste the spice first and then decide how much to use. You can also skip the Aleppo pepper or substitute 1/4 tsp cayenne if you don't have any. I resisted buying Aleppo pepper for a while, but we live near a Penzey's so I finally caved and it's become a staple of our spice rack.

 

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Butternut squash shakshuka

1 large butternut squash (1.5-2 lbs)
2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 large shallots
2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1 tsp sea salt, divided
3/4 tsp ras al hanout
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds
1-2 tsp harissa spice*
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper*
1 can chickpeas, drained
5 eggs
Lemon wedges
Feta cheese (optional)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Naan or pita bread (optional, but not really)

Preheat oven to 400. Trim the top stem of the butternut squash (but not the bottom), split the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the neck of the squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and remove the skin (it should slip off easily).

While the squash is roasting, slice and caramelize the onions and shallots in olive oil for about 20 minutes. Set aside half of the onions. To the remaining onions, add 1 tsp of smoked paprika, half of the salt, and the raz al hanout. Saute for 1 minute and add to the blender or food processor.

Add the cooked squash to the blender or food processor with the onions and spices and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

Saute the ground lamb over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain the excess oil and liquid. Return to the heat and add the remaining smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, harissa, Aleppo pepper, and salt. Cook for one minute.

Add the drained chickpeas and pureed squash to the cooked lamb and stir to combine. Heat through over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.

Make 5 holes in the squash and lamb mixture and crack the eggs into the holes. Turn the flame back to medium, cover, and cook until the egg whites are solid and there is just a bit of jiggle in the eggs when you shake the pan.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, feta cheese, the reserved caramelized onions, and a squeeze of lemon (all optional!)

Yield: 5 servings

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