The trouble with spring is that we get eager to grill, but we can't always count on the weather to cooperate.
Admittedly, I am a fair weather griller. I know some people who gleefully brave blizzards for the joy of putting meat to searing grate. I simply am not so hardy a man. A bit of a chill or dampness in in the air is enough to scuttle my grill plans and send me back indoors.
Of course, that can make planning a challenge. Coming up with a whole new menu just because I don't want to get wet doesn't quite work for my life. So this time of year I tend to gravitate to recipes that won't complain if I need to move them indoors. This lemon-pepper lamb with bell pepper couscous is just such a recipe.
The meat marinates in a bath of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and gobs of fresh oregano and rosemary. And while 30 minutes is plenty of time, it also can sit this way for up to 24 hours.
When you're ready to cook, it's on and off the grill in under 10 minutes. Weather not working for you? Move it indoors and pop the meat under the broiler. You'll be eating in the same amount of time.
If you're doing things ahead of time, consider also prepping your tzatziki in advance. The flavor gets better with time.
LEMON-GARLIC LAMB KEBABS WITH BELL PEPPER COUSCOUS
Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus marinating
For the lamb:
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Juice 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pounds lamb loin, cut into 2-inch chunks
For the yogurt sauce:
6-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
For the couscous:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup couscous
In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, oregano, rosemary, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the lamb, toss to coat evenly, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium high or heat the oven on broil. If using the broiler, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then set a metal rack over it. Coat the rack with cooking spray.
While the grill or oven heats, make the yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, chives, cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
To make the couscous, in a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and peppers, then saute for 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the couscous, then cover and remove from the heat.
To cook the lamb, thread the meat onto kebabs. If using the grill, use an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to coat the grates. Set the kebabs on the grates, close the cover and cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. If using the broiler, set the kebabs on the prepared pan and broiler for the same time.
Fluff the couscous, then divide between serving plates. Set lamb kebabs over each serving of couscous and serve with the yogurt sauce.
Nutrition information per serving: 790 calories; 460 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 51 g fat (17 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 150 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 50 g protein; 840 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch
- Food & Cooking