Lamb Koobideh Kebab
1 1⁄2 lbs. fresh ground lamb (if using frozen, thaw and drain any accumulated juices thoroughly. It will not stick to skewer or brown if you do not.)
6 tbsp. grated onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
4 T. dried aleppo pepper flakes
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. ground coriander
2 t. dried mint leaves, crumbled with your fingers
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Combine lamb, onion, and garlic in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander, mint, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
3. Pour the spice mixture over the lamb mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
4. Fill a small bowl half full with water. Wet your hands and divide lamb mixture into 8 portions and roll each into a thin cylinder about 5-6″ long and 1″ thick, making sure to moisten hands each time. Slide a flat metal skewer into each cylinder and press the meat around the skewer lightly. (If meat does not stick to skewer, refrigerate it a little longer and try again.)
5. Transfer skewers to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up. After that, make indentations in the meat perpendicular to the skewer with wet fingers.
6. Meanwhile, position top oven rack 6” from heating element and heat broiler. (Alternatively, build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high.) Broil (or grill) the kebabs, turning once, until browned and nicely charred on the outside and medium on the inside, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Serve with white rice and a salad of arugula and onion dressed lightly with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.