Lahem or lahmeh means meat as a generic term. However, when we say lahem meshwi, we refer to lamb meat because that is what it traditionally was. Having said that and although the recipe title indicates lamb, a beef steak cubed and barbecued tastes equally nice. I use a very simple marinade based on olive oil and a herb, as for the meat, I go for a neck fillet or diced leg of lamb or beef rump steak. The choice is yours but make sure you select a nice tender cut.
· 750 g / 1 ½ lb lamb meat like neck fillet or leg. Alternatively, you could use beef rump steak.
· Freshly milled salt and black pepper
· 1 tbsp ground allspice
· 50 ml / 2 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
· 1 tbsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh rosemary. Alternatively you could use the same amount of fresh thyme
· 250 g / 9 oz onions preferably shallots but big ones will do.
You also need a medium sized glass or Pyrex dish.
· 450 g / 1 lb plain yoghurt
· Lebanese or Arabic bread. Alternatively use pitta bread.
- Cut the meat into suitable sizes for the skewers, trimming away excess fat. Transfer into the glass or Pyrex dish. Season with salt, pepper and allspice, add the rosemary (or fresh thyme) followed by the olive oil and mix well. Leave to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours. You can also prepare it the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbecue or pre-heat the grill to a medium setting. Rinse and quarter the onions leaving the skin on, if using shallots, cut them into halves. Now, thread the lamb or beef pieces onto the skewers, inserting the onions in-between. The meat pieces should not be too closely compacted together or they will not cook evenly. Barbecue or grill for about 12 minutes turning the skewers to ensure even cooking. You should end up with a nicely browned meat that is cooked through but not dry nor burnt.
- If you have to barbecue or grill in batches and at the same time keep the meat warm, here is the Lebanese way: Open up one or two warmed Lebanese bread and put inside the barbecued meat (leaving it on skewers). With its double layer, the bread will keep the meat warm, at the same time, it absorbs the excess unwanted fatty juices.
- Just before serving the Sheesh Kebabs, warm up the remaining bread. Next, open up the warmed bread, put the skewers inside it (roughly 2 skewers per 1 bread), pull out the skewers off the meat and pass round the bread filled with the barbecued or grilled meat.
- We usually serve it with plain yoghurt. Some prefer it with Toomeh (see recipe in Sauces). Fattoush (Bread Salad: see recipe in Salads) makes also a nice accompaniment. So, for whatever you go for sahtein (a very Lebanese expression wishing doubly good health).