Monday, May 23, 2011

lamb kebabs and pitta bread

These minted lamb kebabs convinced me that if I have to choose cuisine from just one region of the world to live on, it would have to be Middle Eastern. When Asha (from Fork Spoon Knife) announced that this month's Velveteers challenge was to make Middle Eastern street food, I was extremely happy. The fresh mint with lamb, on a soft, fresh pitta, with fresh cucumber salad and juicy tomato, topped with yogurt--it's all so fresh!

Lamb Kebabs
adapted from Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
serves 4

You can use all lamb, or a mixture of beef and lamb meat, depending on what you have available.

1 small onion
1/2 c parsley, including stems
250 g ground lamb
250 g ground beef
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t pepper

Put the onion and parsley in a food processor and chop until fine. (You can also do this by hand.)
Mix the onion, parsley, and all the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands or a spatula.
Form into small cylinders and pan fry or grill for 15 minutes, turning regularly.

Whole Wheat Pitta Bread
adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
makes 8

Wet dough is good when baking with whole whole flour, since the whole grain absorbs more liquid than plain flour. As a result, it's better not to add too much flour when kneading, even if your hands feel sticky. Use just enough flour to keep kneading.

1 3/4 c (210 g) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c (190 g) bread flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t active dry yeast
2 T olive oil

Sprinkle the yeast over 1 1/4 c (325 ml) warm water and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until bubbly.
Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Don't add too much flour as you knead.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Heat the oven to 230 C (450 F) with a pizza stone or heavy pan inside.
When doubled in bulk, divide into 8 parts. Cover 7 parts with a damp tea towel while you roll out one pitta to about 5 mm thin. Try to do this while adding only a minimal amount of flour. Roll out the rest of the pittas in the same way.
Place 2 or 3 at a time onto the pizza stone or heavy pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side.

The 4 Velveteers was started by Alessio, Aparna, Asha, and Pam, who are passionate about different cuisines and food in general. Each month, we will attempt a new dish and share our experiences and the recipes we used. If you're interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our Facebook group.

Visit the other Velveteers' blogs to see what they have come up with this month:
--Rajani's veggie gyros, with pita bread, tzatziki, and kidney bean filling
--Alessio's crispy pork belly gyros with potato onion flatbread
--Aparna's vegetarian gyros made with tandoori paneer tikka
--Gayathri's vegetarian gyros filled with paneer and peppers


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