This past weekend, we continued with our newfound Sunday tradition of roasting something that isn’t quite A Roast. This time, we decided on lamb, as we haven’t made anything with it in a while. One of us was tasked by the other with deciding what, exactly, would be done with said lamb. The answer? Souvlaki. Street food style.
This is quite an easy dish – and it cooks very quickly – but the lamb should be marinated overnight, if time allows. We also make the tatziki the night before, as it also seems to get a little better with some time on the clock. We use 1kg of lamb shoulder here, which is enough to make about 4 good-sized portions (we eat them in pita – or even naan – bread).
Start by cutting the lamb into bite-sized cubes. If you’ve got shoulder, you’ll have to cut around the bone. We don’t bother with skewers here, so we don’t get too OCD over the exact shape. Set the cubes aside, and assemble your marinade by simply mixing all of the ingredients into a bowl and giving it a good stir to distribute everything.
Add the lamb and stir until well coated, and then transfer everything to a baking dish. Cover it and stick it in the fridge (we put the bone in as well – hey, why not).
Next comes the tatziki. We put a sieve over a large bowl, and used a cheese grater to mush up the cucumber (hat tip to Jamie Oliver on this technique). Remove the mush from the grater, and add it to a bowl with all the other ingredients. We quite like garlic, so we go heavy on them here. Keep in mind this will be served cold, so you’ll want it well spiced. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and give it a whirl – this will emulsify the yogurt a little bit, and also ensure the mint is well-distributed. When that’s done, set it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Bonus 1: instead of throwing away the “cucumber water” – set it aside, and use it to make a cucumber Tom Collins. Trust us on this one.
The Next Day
Remove the lamb from the fridge about an hour before you want to cook, and preheat your oven (we go to around 220c as we want a bit of char on the lamb, and the pieces are small enough that they’ll cook in around 10 minutes). When the lamb gets to room temperature, it’s time to cook.
Bonus 2: if you’re going to sautée some onions – and you should – get them going now.
Bonus 3: if you’re going to grill some halloumi – and you should – put them in a pan now, too.
Transfer the lamb to a pan (cast iron works great) and place in the oven. After about 5m, give the cubes a good stir and then let them cook for another 5m.
When they’re finished, lay them in a warm pita over some lettuce, add some halloumi and sautéed onions and cover with the cold tatziki (and some hot pepper sauce if you are so inclined, as you know we are). Then dig in!