Greek Lamb Souvlaki, mashed Garlicky Cannelini beans and Tzaziki

 

Lamb Souvlaki

 

When we were kids, my family used to go to Greece a few times a year. We loved it there. The sea  is indescribably blue and clear and frankly I have never seen any thing like it anywhere else.

My father would rent a  fishing boat with Captain to go Island hopping, we would stop at beautiful bays for a swim and sometimes a bbq.

Whenever we did have a bbq planned my mother would bring a cooler packed with goodies, salads and off course Lamb.

While my parents were getting the coals ready my brother and I were sent off to find Thyme and Oregano, since it grows pretty much everywhere you don’t have to look far. We were always so excited to do this, we thought it was really cool to know what herbs to pick. Of course my mother would have to throw half the greens away when we came back but it was a really fun way for us to get involved in cooking. I can still spot Thyme from a mile now.

The herbs were not just for the marinade but also to put on the coals just at the end of cooking to give the kebabs a herb infused smokey flavour. I highly recommend it. When I close my eyes, I can still smelt it.

 

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Makes about 8 – 10 Skewers

Ingredients Lamb Souvlaki;

2 lbs. lamb, cubed,  cut from leg or shoulder

5 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, grated

1/4 tsp. Chili flakes

1/2 lemon (juice)

1 tbsp. fresh Oregano, or 2 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. fresh Thyme, leafs only, or 2 tsp. dried

1/2 tsp.dried mint (dried works better than fresh in this case)

1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

10 metal or wooden skewers (soak wooden)

 

Ingredients Tzaziki sauce;

1 cucumber

1 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oil

18 oz. thick Greek yogurt

a squeeze of lemon juice

a pinch of salt

 

Ingredients Garlicky Bean mash ;

2 cans of white beans

1 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. olive oil (separate use)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 sprig of rosemary

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chicken stock powder

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Method for the Lamb Kebabs;

Prepare the marinade for the lamb Souvlaki. Soak the skewers if they are wooden to prevent burning.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients without the salt! Adding the salt at this stage would result in dry meat as it will extract the moisture from the lamb.

Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight for the best result. If you are in a hurry, just marinate while you prepare your coals.

Remove the lamb from the marinade and thread the pieces onto your wooden or metal skewers. Season the lamb generously with salt just before grilling.

When the coals are covered in a thin layer of grey ash, it’s time to grill. Make sure there are no flames. Grill the lamb for about 4-5 minutes, (depending on how big you’ve cut the cubes), turning to grill evenly.

Put pita bread or flat bread on the bbq to heat up for a minute or two.

Serve with a Greek Salad and  Tzaziki

 

Method for Tzaziki:

Remove the skin and the seeds of the cucumber and grate it into a large bowl. Season with salt and leave aside for 10 minutes.

Wrap the grated cucumber in a towel and squeeze as hard as you can to remove the liquid. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Leave to chill for a while in the fridge if you can. Left overs must be stored in the fridge.

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Method for Garlicky Bean Mash;

Start by frying 4 garlic slices for decorating the bean mash.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a little saucepan. Peel and slice the cloves of garlic in thin slices.

Fry gently in the oil until golden. Be careful not to burn them as they will taste very bitter. It should take about 3  minutes on medium heat. Remove from oil and transfer to kitchen paper to drain. Pour the oil into a little bowl and reserve. We will add this to the mash later.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan a gently fry the onion until golden, about four minutes. Add the sprig of rosemary and the remaining garlic. Fry for another minute before adding the cumin and the drained beans. Cook the beans for about 10 minutes adding a little water if necessary. Remove from heat. Also remove the rosemary. Transfer to food processor. Process until the mash is smooth. Add one tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of the reserved garlic infused oil. Return to pan to heat up gently if necessary. Put in a bowl and drizzle with some of the remaining oil and scatter over the fried garlic slices. Serve immediately.

 

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about this Skewered Chicken Ras el Hanout on home made Flatbread with Sun dried Tomato Hummus and Garlic Dill Yoghurt dip.

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