A versatile ground lamb to go with pasta or rice
These lamb skewers from Romney Steele's cookbook, "My Nepenthe," are nicely accented with mint pesto. Serve them with a bed of couscous, or wrap them in warmed pita breads with greens and chopped cucumber.
ROSEMARY LAMB BROCHETTES WITH MINT PESTO
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
For the pesto:
• 2 tablespoons crushed walnuts
• 1 clove garlic
• Pinch salt
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
• 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the lamb:
• 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grilling (if needed)
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only, coarsely chopped
• Coarse salt and ground black pepper
• 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
• 1 small red or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch squares
• 1 lemon, halved
To make the pesto, in a food processor combine the walnuts, garlic, salt and cheese. Pulse to chop, then add the mint and cilantro, then pulse several more times to produce a chunky sauce. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the oil.
For the lamb, place the meat in a medium glass bowl. Drizzle the oil over the meat, then sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat, cover, and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Thread the lamb pieces onto about 8 skewers, alternating with the red pepper and onion.
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill the lamb, turning every so often and basting with any remaining marinade (or using a little more olive oil, as needed) until cooked to desired doneness, about 15 minutes for medium.
Just before serving, squeeze with lemon juice. Serve with mint pesto.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 580 calories; 437 calories from fat; 49 g fat (13 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 111 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 2 g fiber; 297 mg sodium.
(Recipe from Romney Steele's "My Nepenthe," Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009)