A few weeks ago the challenge was Middle Eastern food. And with all of the holidays and life events happening all around the same time, this recipe somehow got pushed down the line and forgotten about! But fret not, I still completed the dish during the required time frame, and that’s all that really matters here – I’m only keeping score for myself anyways.
For my Middle Eastern dish I made a shawarma-inspired yogurt marinade and soaked some sliced lamb shoulder for an entire day. Traditional shawarma is made with delicious spices like coriander, cinnamon and cumin and lots of garlic. I think there’s something magical about using yogurt as a marinade, especially for lamb – it makes it super tender and juicy.
Right now the weather can’t decide if it wants to be hot or cold, so I had to rely on a grill pan to cook my lamb indoors. Because of the small shoulder chunks I used, this was probably for the best, but definitely feel free to use whatever boneless cut of lamb you can get your hands on!
Once the lamb is cooked, I served mine up in warm pitas along with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a quick raita-style sauce.
Middle Eastern Lamb Pita
- 16 oz lamb shoulder or boneless chops cut into strips
- 3 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- ¼ cup cucumber chopped
- 1 teaspoon dill
- lettuce for topping
- onion slices for topping
- tomato slices for topping
- pitas for serving
- In a large baggie or bowl, mix together two cups yogurt with the olive oil, cumin, coriander, paprika, lemon juice, cinnamon and garlic. Add the strips of lamb meat and marinade at least eight hours or overnight.
- Heat a cast iron grill pan over high heat and grease with cooking spray.. Add the strips of marinated lamb, letting most of the excess yogurt drip off. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until cooked through – at least 145 F for a pink center, 160 F for medium well.
- Just prior to serving, stir together the remaining yogurt, cucumber and dill. Serve room temperature or chilled. Warm the pita bread in the microwave for thirty seconds. Fill the warm pitas with the cooked lamb and lettuce, onions, tomatoes and yogurt sauce as desired. Enjoy!