Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ground Lamb Kebabs with Saffron Rice and Hummus

Spiced but simple, fresh and savory, I love the delicious variety of Mediterranean cuisines, but something I always order if it appears on the menu is Lamb Kofta (various spelling) Kebabs, or ground lamb kebabs. Whether with a pita, with rice, with hummus, a salad or just plain, I can't get enough.

This is my first attempt at making them at home and it was so simple and the results so successful this recipe will be made again and again. For anyone who isn't sure they like lamb, this fresh herbs in this recipe balance any gaminess.

I served them atop a bed of saffron rice with a side of hummus and a simple green salad with cucumbers and an oil-and-vinegar dressing. A Syrah or a Pinotage is a nice wine to pair with this - I had it with a Pinotage.

Ground Lamb Kebab with Saffron Rice and Hummus:
(serves 4)

Lamb Kebabs
1 lb ground lamb
1 egg
1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs
1 large shallot, minced finely
1/2 c chopped fresh herbs (parsley, mint and cilantro)
Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients just until blended, don't overwork meat. Form long, thin kebabs around wooden (pre-soak to prevent burning) skewers. Grill, turning, until brown on all sides and just cooked through.

Saffron Rice
1 c jasmine rice
2.5 c chicken broth
Pinch of saffron (3-4 threads soaked in water for an hour or so)
1/2 c golden raisins
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil, add saffron and rice, stir and reduce to low simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring once. Turn off heat, let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add raisins and parsley. Serve.


1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
1/4 c tahini (paste of ground sesame seeds, look in health food stores)
1 clove garlic
1 tbs olive oil
Pinch salt (not traditional, but I also added a touch of honey - my garlic was strong and a little bitter)
Water as needed for consistency

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, adding enough water to allow for blending and to achieve desired consistency. Serve drizled with olive oil and a pinch of paprika for color with warm pita bread on the side.


Anonymous said...


I can't to try this. I've always been intimidated by cooking lamb at home. Also, I really enjoy hearing what wines you pair with your meals. Sometimes I think I know exactly what wine I should have with a food, but it's fun to get new ideas and suggestions! Thanks!


Patricia Scarpin said...

Kirsten, this is just too good, my friend! All the elements are wonderful and I bet they're terrific together.
I haven't had hummus in such a long time, yours looks delish!

Kirsten said...

Hi Maureen! I DO hope you try it - my lamb experiments hopefully were inspiring. :)

Thanks for your comment!

Hi Patricia! You are so sweet! I adore this menu in restaurants and it was such a pleasure to recreate it (and have it taste good) at home. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Christine said...

I'm going to admit to a deep dark secret - I've never had lamb. I don't know why really. I'm a die hard carnivore but those darn sheep are so cute! This recipe makes me want to run out and buy some to try this though so maybe I'll be converted!

Kirsten said...

Christine! You are SOOO sweet!

You are not alone on your lamb thoughts, but trust me, the nice people @ SafeWay on Baseline and Higley will sell it to you nice and clean and NOT lamb-like at all. This recipe (with all the herbs) is a good starter recipe. You can't go wrong. Ground lamb resembles ground pork with a color closer to ground beef.

Or...we'll have to have a local food blogger meet-up and I'll make it for your for your first attempt. :)

Anonymous said...

As for the Phoenix foodie get together, Kirsten, if you make the lamb, I'll bring any wine you suggest. ;)

Seriously, my DH commented, since I mention your blog ALL the time, that we should do a Phoenix foodie/wine round-up sometime.

I need to practice my photography skills, so I can get my blog up and running again.


Janet said...

This looks so good! I am going to try the Lamb Kebabs for sure, I adore lamb .... There's no saffron in your saffron rice... :-)

Kirsten said...

Janet - that is to edit post (there is supposed to be saffron in the recipe!). :)

Anonymous said...

Kirsten you did it! And the kabobs and hummus look like they turned out so great! Glad they were a hit... I MAY try this sometime, although like Christine, I have to admit, lamb has always given me the heebie-geebies. It's not the first meat on my list, but you just may have inspired me to try. I LOVE all other Mediterranean food. XO


Nora B. said...

Kirsten, that looks like a delicious meal. I bought tahini a few weeks ago and still haven't gotten round to making my own hummus. Your photo has made me want some now, so I think that I will make it this weekend. Thanks for the recipes.

Annemarie said...

This sounds like a great combination. The saffron rice and humus side-by-side remind me of a fantastic recipe from the Casa Moro cookbook for saffron chick pea puree (with cumin seeds as well, I think). Lamb and middle eastern side dishes work very well together, I think. Might need to have lamb for dinner now...

Christine said...

That would be so fun to plan a local foodie meetup and do some sort of planned meal where we could all make something and do wine pairings with it. I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

Kelly-Jane said...

That's a great idea to serve humous with the kebabs, gives that little bit extra that is sometimes lacking, looks lovely too :)

Kirsten said...

Christine/Maureen, I think you are onto something!! What a fun idea! Email me and we can coordinate?

Coffee & Vanilla said...

I have bag of chick peas at home and I was wondering what to do with them... I will try your hummus recipe.
I discovered your food blog today, I will be visiting more often now.

kimberly said...

Nice blog!!! i love to cook specially when my parents come to my home. In fact i am trying to get many recipes because i want to cook varieties. i think this blog is perfect because show many new ideas and is sure i will prove it.

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Left out the apricots & prunes & cooked them on a barbecue slowly, had in pitta bread with home made coleslaw & the harissa dip been told I have to do it again this summer ( cook slow & bast with marinade to keep moist )Used a boned shoulder of lamb