Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cooking the Books: Weber's Big Book of Grilling

I've been meaning for some time to tell y'all about my personal 2012 Cooking Challenge. I have quite a few cookbooks and yet I cook from them so rarely. Many of them I have read numerous times but still have never been impelled to do more than cook the same two or three recipes that interested me originally.

This year I thought I'd make two-three dishes from a particular cookbook each week. If all goes well, I'll have provided much more variety to my usual round of "go to" default meals.

That should be a welcome change for all!

First up, was Weber's Big Book of Grilling. I remember trying it when it was new (2001, is it possible?) and hitting a dud first thing out of the box. The problem was that so many recipes looked great that I couldn't bear to get rid of the book, yet my first experience made me distrust it.

This time there was no such problem. Both the Pork Chops with Adobo BBQ Sauce and the Lamb Patties in Pita with Yogurt Dill-Mint Sauce were fantastic. The pork chops really didn't even need the BBQ sauce since they had a flavorful rub and the lamb patties had a fresh Mediterranean flavor that I couldn't get enough of. My favorite ... the lamb patties, which you may try for yourself.

Moroccan Lamb In Pita
Serves: 4

Direct/Medium grill

For the Seasoning Mix:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron threads

1-1/4 pounds ground lamb

For the Sauce:
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the lamb patties
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 pita breads pockets
1 cup torn lettuce
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes


Make the Seasoning Mix
In a small, dry, heavy sauté pan combine the seasoning mix ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl combine the lamb with the seasoning mix and 3 tablespoons cold water. Lightly mix with your hands; don't overwork the meat. With wet hands, lightly shape the meat into four equal-sized patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Just Before Grilling Make the Sauce
In a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients.

Lightly brush or spray the lamb patties with the extra-virgin olive oil. Grill over Direct Medium heat until the lamb is medium, 7 to 9 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Grill the pita over Direct Medium heat until toasted, 30 to 60 seconds, turning once halfway through grilling time.

Slip the lamb patties inside the pita pockets along with a heaping spoonful of the yogurt sauce. Top with the lettuce and tomato. Serve immediately.

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