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Moose on Fire: Go to the Grill for Passover Lamb Kebabs

March 29th, 2010 · No Comments

Debbie Moose

Editor’s note: South Florida Passovers can be different than those up North. No one says you can’t use mango instead of apple in charoset, for instance, or add coconut. What better way to change up the meat than to grill it? Our gal at the grill, Debbie Moose, explains why it’s perfectly kosher.

By Debbie Moose, columnist

Passover menus usually pass by the grill, and that’s too bad. You’re missing out on great flavor and convenience – grilling the main dish frees up the oven for kugel or other side dishes.

Yes, I know holiday menus carry a large trunk of memories and traditions along with the food. Preparing the roast chicken or brisket the way Bubbe did brings her spirit to the table.

Tradition – in North Africa

But here’s something you might not know: Grilling has a tradition of its own in Jewish cooking. It’s the custom of Jews in North Africa to grill meats during Passover, because they believe that’s how the Hebrews must have cooked food during the exodus from Egypt, according to The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York by Claudia Roden (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

Chunks of lamb and onions threaded on skewers, simply rubbed with olive oil, is the usual North African way of grilling. But you may want to dress things up with a marinade or dipping sauce. Try this recipe, adapted from Roden’s book, and bring an international touch to your seder.

Marinated Lamb Kebabs for Passover

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 pounds lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Lemon wedges

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and marjoram. Add the lamb cubes. Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking. Make sure the grate is well oiled so the meat won’t stick. Remove the lamb from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread the lamb cubes onto skewers (flat-bladed skewers hold the meat well). Place the skewers on the grill. Turn the skewers after a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook the meat. It should be brown outside and tender and juicy inside. Grill for 7 to 15 minutes total.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If you want to use the marinade as a dipping sauce, make a second amount of the recipe and set it aside. Never reuse marinade that has held raw meat.

(Recipe adapted from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York by Claudia Roden, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.)

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Debbie Moose, a food writer and cookbook author from Raleigh, NC, writes on JanNorris.com about cooking outdoors. Check out her cookbooks: Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool; Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack; Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home; and Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy. Find out what else Debbie is cooking on her blog, Moose Munchies, at her web site, debbiemoose.com.

Tags: Holiday cooking · Moose on Fire: A Gal and a Grill · Recipes: What's Cooking!

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