Dish of the Week: Turkish Shish Kebab

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe for a Turkish classic: shish kebab.

The word kebab literally means "roast meat." Though there are several variations throughout the Middle East and South Asia - including the doner kebap sandwich that we've becoming familiar with recently thanks to VERTS -- the terms shish kebab refers to meat roasted on a skewer (or a shish in Turkish).

Meat skewers were referenced in Homer's Odyssey, but the practice may have been born even earlier; Excavations have unearthed Greek stones set for barbecue skewers that date as far as 17th century BC. Today, you'll find iterations of shish kebabs all over the world, with marinated and grilled lamb being one of the most famous.

This recipe, from Food & Wine, tenderizes cubes of lamb in a marinade with garlic, lemon, dried mint and oregano. The meat is skewered with fresh mint and served with red onion and peppers, a garlicky tahini, lemon, and grilled pita bread.

Turkish Shish Kebabs with Garlicky Tahini serves 4


6 garlic cloves, crushed 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp freshly ground pepper 1 tsp dried mint 1 tsp dried oregano 1 1/2 lb trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 1 small bunch of fresh mint 1 large red onion, cut into 2-inch wedges 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-inch wedges 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch wedges Vegetable oil, for the grill Garlicky Tahini Lemon wedges and pita or lavash, for serving Skewers


In a large bowl, mix the garlic, 3 tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried mint and oregano. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Thread the lamb onto skewers, placing 1 fresh mint leaf between the pieces of meat. On separate skewers, skewer alternate pieces of onion and bell pepper. Brush the vegeteables lightly with olive oil.

Heat a grill to a medium-to-hot heat and lightly brush the grate with vegetable oil. Add the lamb and vegetables and cook, turning frequently, until the lamb is medium, about 6 minutes, and the vegetables are tender and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Let cool for about 2 minutes before serving. In the meantime, lightly toast pita bread on the grill.

Serve hot with the Garlicky Tahini, lemon wedges and warmed pita.

See more Dishes of the Week: Dish of the Week: Coq Au Vin Dish of the Week: Argentine Chimichurri Dish of the Week: Flourless Chocolate Cake Dish of the Week: New England Clam Chowder Dish of the Week: Beef Stroganoff Dish of the Week: Hushpuppies Dish of the Week: Irish Soda Bread Dish of the Week: Pastitsio Dish of the Week: Chicken Tikka Masala Dish of the Week: The Cuban Sandwich Dish of the Week: Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas Dish of the Week: Potato Kugel Dish of the Week: Korean Fried Chicken Dish of the Week: Wiener Schnitzel Dish of the Week: Mexican Chilaquiles Dish of the Week: Falafel Dish of the Week: Fish and Chips Dish of the Week: Jucy Lucy Dish of the Week: Gazpacho Dish of the Week: Baklava Dish of the Week: Steak au Poivre Dish of the Week: Fried Green Tomatoes

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano