Lamb kabobs are the favored fast food of Morocco

February 26, 2014 

These lamb kabobs, flavored with Moroccan spices, were inspired by an interview I had with Kitty Morse, an author and cooking teacher who grew up in Casablanca.

“Kabobs are one of Morocco’s most popular fast foods,” Morse told me. Whether in small-town souks or in the heart of Marrakesh, she said, the smoky aroma of grilled meat drifts across the squares as kabobs grill on open fires.

Morse makes a fragrant marinade for her kabobs; after they’re cooked, she sprinkles them with a pinch of salt and cumin for added zing. I use a dry rub instead to shorten the preparation time in this recipe, adapted from her book, “Cooking at the Kasbah.”

These kabobs can be grilled or cooked under the broiler. They’re served in the pockets of warm pita bread and topped with a tomato salsa that’s made with fresh mint — a cooling contrast with the spicy kabobs.

The best cut of lamb for kabobs comes from the leg. It’s not usually displayed in the meat case, so ask the butcher to cut some for you.

DINNER IN MINUTES recipes from C3

Marrakesh Kabobs  •  3/4 pound lamb cut into 1- to 11/2-inch cubes

 •  1/4 cup finely chopped onion

 •  2 garlic cloves, crushed

 •  1 tablespoon paprika (preferably sweet Hungarian)

 •  2 teaspoons ground cumin

 •  1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 •  Several drops hot pepper sauce

 •  12 button mushrooms, (about 1 inch in diameter)

 •  1/2 teaspoon salt

 •  4 skewers

 •  4 whole-wheat pita breads

Preheat grill or broiler. Remove fat from lamb cubes. Mix onion, garlic, paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, black pepper and hot pepper sauce in a medium bowl. Add lamb and toss to coat well. Set aside while you make the salsa (Recipe follows). Thread skewers alternately with lamb and mushrooms. Place directly on grill grates or line a baking tray with foil and place under broiler. Cook 5 minutes, turn and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt together and sprinkle it over the kabobs. Place the pita bread on the grill grates or under the broiler to warm for one-minute. Cut the pita bread in half and carefully open the pockets. Slide the lamb and mushrooms into the pockets and top with Moroccan salsa.

Nutrition information per serving: 614 calories (19 percent from fat), 13.2 g fat (3.9 g saturated, 4.4 g monounsaturated), 111 mg cholesterol, 50.7 g protein, 79.1 g carbohydrates, 11.8 g fiber, 811 mg sodium.

Moroccan Salsa

 •  2 medium tomatoes, cut into small cubes

 •  2 scallions, sliced

 •  Leaves from 3 mint sprigs (If large tear into small pieces, 1/4 cup)

 •  1 teaspoon sugar

 •  Salt and black pepper

Place tomatoes, scallions and mint leaves in a small bowl. Add sugar and salt pepper to taste. Toss well.

Nutrition information per serving:46 calories (8 percent from fat), 0.4 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.1 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 1.9 g protein, 10.4 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.

Yield: Makes 2 servings Linda Gassenheimer is the author of many books, most recently, of “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com.

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