Come With Me to the Casbah

My Oregon Casbah Kebabs
People traditionally cook what is making noise in their back yards, I suppose, and since sheep are raised all over the world, a quick search on Epicurious gives us lamb done up in a vast array of global cuisine: Lamb au Pistou; lamb with herbes de Provence; chimichurried; charmoula'd; Oaxacan spiced; Hunan sauced; gremolata sprinkled; Bulgogi'd; hot potted; tzatziki'd; soulvaki'd and slapped into Turkish pita. Lucky for us, the spice boats floated, and we can do all of these things with our local lamb at a whim.

Our lamb is raised just minutes from our house, is grass fed and given no antibiotics or growth hormones, and is processed locally, too. The lamb is truly one of the blessings of living in the Oregon countryside, as creative and interesting meals show up frequently featuring this local product.

Have I shared with you the day an ewe made a visit to my front porch? She stood their baa-baa-ing at the glass front door, as if she wanted in for tea. Having been raised in the city, this discombobulated me so that I regret to say I forgot to reach for my camera, but that impression is forever burned in my mind. Country living has its facts, and having next week's dinner stop over for a visit is one of them.
This recipe is my loose adaptation from the Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates cookbook. This was printed as a dressing for a Northern African-inspired salad, and most salad dressings make fantastic marinades. It is as delicious drizzled over a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad as it is here, so make plenty and use it generously. It features sumac, a really interesting tart, astringent, deep reddish-purple spice that just recently has shown up in my kitchen.
Reustle Prayer Rock 2008 Tempranillo Reserve
My Baby decided on the Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyard 2008 Tempranillo Reserve as a pairing, and I must say he's gifted. This wine is redolent of plum, coffee and toast with silky tannins, which was amazing with the spiced lamb. I am pleased to say that the wine comes from the Umpqua Valley AVA, an up-and coming wine region producing many spectacular wines, and is also less than 100 miles from home. Local, local, local. Interesting how foods from within a region seem to taste good together, yes?

My Oregon Casbah Marinade and Salad Dressing

In a jar combine:
Juice of one lemon (save zest for rice pilaf)
1 tablespoon ground sumac
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
salt to taste

Screw lid on jar and shake well. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and shake again.

For lamb kebabs, cube tender lamb shoulder and place in zip-top bag with enough marinate to coat well. Place in refrigerator one hour or overnight. Thread skewers with lamb, red bell pepper, sweet onion and large cherry tomato. Grill over medium coals until meat is at desired level of doneness (we prefer medium), about 10 minutes, turning every five minutes.

Serve on bed of rice pilaf. In this case, I simply used a Near East pilaf mix, but stirred in the lemon zest before lidding it. Before serving, I tossed in 1/3 cup lightly toasted pistachios.


  1. Hi Pam, good to visit you here! Love the idea of visiting the Casbah too. Best from Jefferson's Table.

  2. OMG, sounds delish! I wish I could distinguish flavors in wine like you do, but years of asthma and allergies has deadened my nose sadly...but that's what the hubby is for and he too, is very good at finding wonderful vino. Now I need to find some sumac and try this recipe :o)

  3. You're so lucky to have farm fresh grass feed lamb so close to home. I miss being in Ireland where lamb is so prevalent and cheap to buy...unlike where I am now...

  4. This looks amazing. We're lucky to have very good lamb grown here in Quebec too. I have to say our wines are not so amazing, but thankfully local and quality imports go very well together too!

  5. What can I say except this " you have managed to make me drool and salivate thinking when I can make this " heehee thanks will make this the next time I buy a piece of lamb meat :)

  6. Gorgeous Kebabs... and an excellent wine choice, I am with you he is gifted:) Love this recipe...

  7. I really like your recipe. Keep up he good work :-) I like your blog too.

  8. OMG! It looks delicious, I love lamb can't have enough. Lemon juice and sumac very lemony yummmm!

  9. I wish I had wine knowledge. But the Lamb looks delis. I have been looking around all my local area to purchase grass fed lamb no luck yet.

  10. Thanks, Sensible Cooking; thanks, everyone. Sensible, just as you talk about the learning process with cooking in your blog, that's just how I find wine. Once I got over the jitters and decided that the only way to learn was to, well, learn, all intimidation faded away. I consider myself a wine enthusiast and lover, not an expert, and wine has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of my life! Just jump on in and let the learning begin!! There is no way to fail!!

    I appreciate everyone's comments very much. My best to all!

  11. Love, love, love lamb! Even mutton! This looks simply divine!

  12. Pam, I loved this post. I'm new to your blog and love its breezy, welcoming tone. I also love your recipes and will be back often. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. I was just thinking about some lamb kabobs for a friend vacation next month (already planning the menu of course!) and these look great!

    And I agree about the comments with wine, just jump in. I learn something new everday. I wan to get certified as a sommelier not because I want people to think I know everything about wine, but that I would be a good person to ask a wine and food question of because I might know how to go about finding the answer.



Post a Comment

Popular Posts