Lamb and Cherry Kebabs from Aleppo

From the Wine Enthusiast Pairings Book
Ingredients
  • For the baharat
  • 14 cup black peppercorns
  • 14 cup allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • For the kebabs
  • 1 12 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 12-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons baharat
  • 12 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 12 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 14 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ten 8- to 10-inch skewers (see above)
  • 50 fresh black or Bing cherries, pitted
  • Pita bread
  • Tomato wedges
Directions

To prepare the baharat: In a spice grinder, grind the peppercorns and allspice together, transfer to a bowl, and blend with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Store in a jar in your spice rack, away from sunlight. It will lose pungency as time goes by, but properly stored, it will be good for many months.

To prepare the kebabs: In a medium bowl, toss the lamb, baharat, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on high heat. Skewer the lamb, interspersed with cherries, using 5 pieces of meat and 4 or 5 cherries per skewer. Place the skewers on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the meat is browned and springy to the touch, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately on a platter with pita bread, tomato wedges, and black olives.

Published on December 17, 2009
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