So why not set yourself apart this Fourth of July and grill up something a little different. Because it's not everyone who's going to bust out lamb kebabs in honour of our nation's independence. But they should. Because this inexpensive, yet delicious, richly flavoured meat loves to hit the grill.
To make these kebabs shine, I went with a yogurt marinade using classic Greek flavours. The result is a tender, robust kebab with bold, yet fresh flavours. Even better is that these kebabs can be prepped a full day ahead. The longer the meat bathes in the yogurt sauce, the better the flavour.
HERBED GREEK LAMB KEBABS
Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus marinating
2 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds lamb loin, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley, chives and thyme
1 lemon, cut into wedges
In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, chives, salt and pepper. Pour half of the yogurt sauce into a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Add the lamb meat to the remaining yogurt sauce in the bowl and mix to coat well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24.
When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium-high. Using an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs, oil the grill grates.
Remove the lamb from the yogurt sauce. Thread the meat onto skewers, alternating with chunks of green bell pepper. Grill the kebabs for 5 minutes per side, turning to cook evenly.
Serve the kebabs sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs and lemon wedges for squeezing over them. Serve with the reserved yogurt sauce.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 350 calories; 180 calories from fat (51 per cent of total calories); 20 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 34 g protein; 1 g fiber; 440 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.