This is the 38th year of the festival, which is amazing - 38 years of Greek wine, gyros, pastries, and more. I mean, they even have a drive-through window...so if there isn't time to wander the festival, I can still get your fix of Greek food. But believe me, I am making time for this event! I attended a few years ago and am so looking forward to this year! In honor of the festival, which starts tomorrow, I wanted to share an easy Greek recipe I recently made for Mother's Day. These lamb kabobs, paired with a homemade, cool, creamy tzatziki sauce, are simple and delicious - exactly what a summer meal on the grill should be.
Since I had five mouths to feed, I went to the South of the James farmer's market one Saturday and purchased two pounds of boneless lamb leg from a local farm. I let it thaw overnight and the next day, I cut it into 1- 1 ½ inch cubes (or at least attempted to). If you aren't a fan of lamb, chicken or steak can easily be substituted and will still taste yummy with the tzatziki sauce.
The marinade is simple - combine rosemary, garlic, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Toss the cubed lamb in and make sure it gets nice and coated. Let it marinate for about 4 hours.
While that's marinating, make your tzatziki sauce. It's ridiculously easy and fun to make. I've never grated a cucumber before and it was interesting. Combine Greek yogurt, a little sour cream, grated English cucumber, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, dill, and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Start chopping up any veggies you want to include - I used zucchini, grape tomatoes, and red onion. Any combination of these veggies, peppers, mushrooms, or other onion could be used - whatever you're in the mood for.
And, here comes the fun - the skewering! Alternate threading the veggies and lamb onto metal skewers. If you're using wooden skewers, make sure you soak in cold water them for 30 minutes before grilling to prevent them from catching fire. I know we're all welcoming the summer heat...but no one needs that much.
Brian did a fabulous job grilling them on medium heat for about 13-14 minutes. Brush them with a little bit of the marinade as they grill to get some extra flavor.
While Brian grilled, I cooked rice pilaf and cubed a hunk of Feta cheese. We layered it up -- rice pilaf, kabob, feta, and tzatziki. It made almost 14 kabobs...so we were enjoying this food all week!
makes at least a dozen
- 2 lb. boneless American Lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 1-1 ½-inch cubes
- 24 grape of cherry tomatoes
- 1 large purple onion, sliced
- 3-4 large zucchini, cubed
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch of fresh oregano
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine garlic, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Season marinade with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add lamb cubes; toss to coat.
2. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 4 to 6 hours. Drain meat cubes; discard marinade.
3. Thread lamb, tomatoes and onion onto skewers. Grill on medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or to desired degree of doneness; thermometer should register 145 degrees F for medium-rare, 160 degrees F for medium or 170 degrees F for well.
4. Turn kabobs several times, brushing with marinade. Serve with rice pilaf, warm pita bread and Tzatziki sauce.
makes about 4 cups; would recommend halving the recipe
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 16oz plain Greek yogurt
- 1 hothouse (or English) cucumber, grated and squeezed dry with paper towels
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine the yogurt, sour cream, cucumber, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, dill, and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.