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Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!

(Serves 4)

I decided to try a new recipe last night for my brother & sister-in-law. We had invited them out for dinner and games for a bit of weekend family fun and we certainly had a blast. This was a recipe I borrowed from one Jamie Oliver as I had just seen him do this one on the Food Channel recently. I could almost smell it through the television, it looked THAT good! Now, I am not normally a huge lamb fan, but I am learning some fascinating new ways to prepare the different cuts and I have to say that it is growing on me…in a good way.

Living in New Zealand, one must learn how to cook lamb as it does represent a significant proportion of our national exports. Everyone raves about how great New Zealand Lamb is from Mr. Alton Brown or Jamie Oliver, to the average Kiwi cook down under. I even think a few Aussies will admit that our lamb is of exceptional quality…then again, they may try to claim they originally brought the sheep here in the beginning. Hehe.

Seriously though, this recipe is one that I just couldn’t resist trying and it will, in fact, make it into my book of favourites. I believe this combination would also work well with pork or beef too, so don't write it off just because you can't get lamb mince or you might not be fond of the way lamb tastes. Trust me - this one doesn't have a pungent "lamb/lanolin" odour. Here we go…


500 Gms trimmed shoulder or neck fillet of ground lamb mince
2 Tbsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
4 Tbsp Sumac, or finely grated zest of 1 lemon
*Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper
1 Handful Pistachios, shelled & roughly chopped
4-5 Cups Mixed Salad Leaves, washed, spun dry and shredded
1 Large Carrot, grated
1 Small Bunch Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Red Onion, peeled and very finely sliced
1 Lemon
1 Bunch Parsley
*Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Large Flatbreads or Tortilla Wraps
4 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt or Tzatziki

*Amounts vary to individual tastes.


Preheat oven grill/broiler or BBQ. If you are cooking indoors, use the highest heat available.

Combine the minced lamb with most of the thyme, chilli, cumin and sumac (reserving a little of each for sprinkling over later), a little salt and pepper and all the pistachios.

Divide the meat into four equal pieces and get yourself four skewers and shape the meat around and along each skewer, leaving little indents in the meat with your fingers as you go – this will give it a better texture when cooked (according to Mr. Jaime Oliver).

Now, in one bowl, mix the salad leaves, grated carrot, mint and parsley.

In another bowl, combine the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice (the acidity will take the edge off and lightly pickle the raw onion – another Jaime Oliver tip).

Now, grill the kebabs until nicely golden on all sides. This is about 20-25 minutes total…turning once or twice during the cooking process.

Next, dress your salad with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, warm your flatbreads for about 30 seconds each side on a skillet or griddle pan, then divide between plates and top each with some dressed salad leaves and onion.

When your kebabs are cooked, slip them off their skewers on to the flatbreads – you can leave them whole or break them up on top of the salad in your wraps.

We topped ours with a bit of natural yogurt tzatziki sauce (cucumber, mint & garlic with yogurt) before sprinkling with the rest of the sumac, cumin, chilli and fresh thyme, and a little salt and pepper.

I think Mr. Oliver also drizzled his with a bit of EVOO at the end, but we didn’t and it was still a gorgeous treat!!! I think I may be becoming a lamb convert. After eating chicken and beef as our primary sources of protein most of my life, I am discovering some brilliant new options that stray a bit from my traditional comfort zone. Yea!

3 Thoughts & Remarks:

Joie de vivre said...

My in-laws were just in New Zealand and said the sheep outnumber the people 100 to 1? Is that so?

Pam said...

Mmm. Looks and sounds really good.

Chef E said...

I do like this, as I love Kofta, and I love kabobs!