Grilled Lamb on Skewers

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 12h 25m

Serves 6

The tantalizing aroma of grilling lamb pervades the cities of the eastern Mediterranean. In Greece, this same preparation is called arni souvlakia. The marinade also works well on lamb chops and on butterflied leg of lamb. Serve atop eggplant and tomato pilaf or with pita bread.


  • 2 small onions, grated
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 pounds tender lamb from the leg, trimmed of fat and cut across the grain into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 red (Spanish) onion, cut into 1-inch squares
  • Salt
  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes, cored and halved
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
  • Yogurt-cucumber sauce

Companion recipe: Yogurt Cucumber Sauce


In a nonaluminum bowl, combine the onions, 3/4 cup of the olive oil, the 1 teaspoon black pepper, oregano or thyme, cinnamon, cumin and the cayenne, if using. Stir to mix well, then add the lamb cubes, turning to coat evenly. Cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a broiler.

Remove the lamb cubes from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and thread them onto metal skewers, alternating them with the onion pieces. (Do not pack the lamb and onion pieces too tightly or they will not cook evenly.) Brush the lamb and onions with some of the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Thread the tomatoes and bell peppers on separate skewers, brushing them with oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper as well.

Place the lamb-filled skewers on an oiled grill rack or a broiler pan and grill or broil, turning once and basting occasionally with the reserved marinade, until the meat is done to your liking, 8-10 minutes total for medium-rare. About 5 minutes before the lamb is ready, add the tomato and pepper skewers to the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil, turning as needed, until tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the skewers to a warmed serving dish or individual plates. Serve hot with the yogurt-cucumber sauce in a bowl on the side.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2211

nutrition information per serving

728 calories; 53g total fat; 110mg cholesterol; 220mg sodium; 21g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 41g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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