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Grilled Cumin-Lamb Pitas With Couscous And Yogurt

The manly art of grilling reached its first peak in this decade, as dads stood by their Webers, stoking the fire and pulling dinner from its clutches while moms did the shopping and cleanup. Besides burgers and wienies, people loved to make shish kebab. Today, grilling knows no gender, and skewers remain a handy way to prepare small foods. Experience has taught us that the vegetables are best cooked separately, or not at all -- as this hot-cold, tender-crunchy wonder of a sandwich illustrates.

Type: Lamb
Courses: Main Course
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

1 1/2 cups 355mlPlain yogurt
2   Garlic cloves - pressed
1 tablespoon 15mlFresh lemon juice
  Salt - to taste
2 teaspoons 10mlGround cumin
1 teaspoon 5mlGround coriander
2 1/4 lbs 1021g / 36ozBoneless lamb sirloin - trimmed, and
  Cut into 1" cubes
1 cup 237mlWater
1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlSalt
2/3 cup 157mlCouscous
1/2   Cucumber - seeded, chopped
1   Ripe tomato - chopped
1/2   Onion - halved, sliced thin (small)
2 tablespoons 30mlOlive oil
2 tablespoons 30mlChopped fresh dill
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste
6   Pita breads - (6" dia)

Recipe Instructions

Set strainer over large bowl. Line strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth (do not let strainer touch bottom of bowl). Spoon yogurt into strainer. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken; discard liquid). Mix yogurt, garlic and lemon juice in small bowl. Season to taste with salt.

Rub cumin and coriander over lamb pieces. Thread lamb onto 6 metal skewers. (Yogurt and lamb can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

Combine 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer couscous to large bowl; fluff with fork. Cool to room temperature. Stir in chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, olive oil and fresh dill. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill lamb to desired doneness, turning frequently, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with salt. Grill pitas until heated through and lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side.

Place 1 pita on each of 6 plates. Spread yogurt mixture evenly over pitas. Spoon couscous down center of pitas. Slide lamb off skewers onto couscous.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

Bon Appetit, September 1999


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