Lamb Shish Kebabs

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

During the early years of our marriage, Jim and I and our two older daughters, Rhonda and Linda, lived in Waterville, Maine. We had Armenian neighbors with two little boys who played with the girls. Linny, being a tomboy, was always ready for a game of Daniel Boone and more times than not was Daniel Boone himself—she had the raccoonskin hat to prove it! Gimella, the boys’ mother, was a first-rate cook and it was from her that I learned to make lamb shish kebab, our family favorite.

NotesIf you use fresh onions, peel and then parboil them for 3 or 4 minutes just until they begin to turn tender. Drain and cool.


Cooking Methodgrilling



Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrunchy, hot & spicy, meaty, spiced

Type of Dishskewer


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 pounds lean, boneless lamb, from the shoulder, leg, or sirloin, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 12 fresh peeled, frozen, or jarred pearl onions (see note)
  • 18 large cherry tomatoes
  • 18 large white mushrooms, stems removed
  • Eighteen 1-inch-thick zucchini slices


  1. In a shallow glass, ceramic, or other nonreactive dish, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, curry powder, salt, coriander seeds, ginger, and garlic. Add the lamb, toss to coat, and cover. Alternatively, mix the marinade in a sturdy plastic bag, add the cubes, seal, and gently turn the bag to coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours, stirring or turning occasionally.

  2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill until the coals or heating elements are medium hot or preheat the broiler.

  3. Lift the lamb from the marinade and let any excess marinade drip back into the dish. Thread the lamb onto 6 metal skewers, alternating with the onions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini.

  4. Lay the skewers on the grill or under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare meat or longer for more well-done meat and until the vegetables soften. Move the skewers to cooler or hotter parts of the grill during cooking to avoid burning. Baste once with the marinade in the first minutes of grilling or broiling.

  5. Serve immediately, a skewer per serving.


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