08 Apr lamb skewers with couscous
Easter fell quite early this year, which I think had an impact on the planning of lamb lunches. Lamb is readily available year round, of course, but spring lamb season is roughly from February to June. And if you’re wondering what the difference is, it’s simply that spring lamb is a lamb that is aged 3 to 5 months old when it is butchered. This Easter saw us eating lamb a little earlier than usual, which has meant that I’ve been reminded of my love for lamb ahead of schedule.
Following on from my recipe the week before last for a leftover lamb pilaf, this week I’m suggesting a quick grilling of chunks of lamb, marinated in a Moroccan- influenced spice mix. My trust harissa paste is put to work in this marinade, alongside cumin and cayenne. It’s a marinade that really clings to the meat, meaning it’s ready for the grill immediately, as opposed to needing a long time in the fridge.
Like any meat, try to source it from a butcher that you trust. They can help you to decide on what cut would work best for you when you set about to make my lamb skewers. The fast-cooking succulence of lamb steak is my choice cut.
I’ve paired my skewers with a simple couscous this week. I’ve only run a few ingredients through the couscous to make sure the lamb is the star of the show.
Lamb Skewers with Couscous
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
For the lamb skewers
2 tablespoons of harissa paste
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil
300g lamb steak, trimmed and chopped into chunks
12 cherry tomatoes
For the couscous
150g of couscous
Half a lemon
Handful of fresh mint
Half a pomegranate
For the garlic yogurt
4 tablespoons of yogurt
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Place the harissa paste, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix everything together until you have a smooth, well-blended paste.
- Add the lamb to the mixing bowl and mix really well until the lamb is covered in the marinade. You can leave this in your fridge for a couple of hours if you like, but it is ready to be cooked immediately.
- Thread the lamb and the cherry tomatoes evenly onto six skewers. Place them on a baking tray and cook under your grill, or fry on a griddle pan with a little olive oil over a high heat. The lamb will be cooked within 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to turn the skewers a few times, so that the lamb is evenly browned.
- Meanwhile, make your couscous by placing the couscous in a large bowl. Pour hot water over the couscous until it is just covered. Let it sit for 10 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and mix again with the fork. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Finely chop a handful of fresh mint and remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Mix both through the couscous.
- Place four tablespoons of yogurt into a bowl. Finely grate the garlic and mix into the yogurt. Squeeze in the lemon juice and mix well.
- Serve the couscous and lamb skewers with some garlic yogurt on the side.
Storecupboard Essential: Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper in its dried and ground form is the secret weapon in a good spice cupboard. It packs serious heat, and adding a pinch to a marinade or a spicy stew goes a long way. Cayenne is believed to speed up your metabolism, thanks to the high amount of capsaicin.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on April 7th