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      RECIPE TITLE "Lamb and eggplant kebabs"
    This recipe is fromThe Barbecue! Bible  Copyright © 1998 by Steven Raichlen. All rights reserved.

    ... more great recipes from Steven Raichlen on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yields   Serves 4 time-- difficultyeasy

    This colorful skewer is one of the most popular kebabs in Turkey, and given the mild, sweet flavor of Turkish eggplants, it's easy to see why. As the kebabs cook, the eggplant absorbs the lamb juices, creating one luscious combination. Another plus for health-conscious eaters is the high proportion of vegetables to meat. Choose eggplants that are rather long and narrow: Asian eggplants work well.

    Special Equipment
    8 long metal skewers, or 8 bamboo skewers and an aluminum foil shield


    1 pound ground lamb
    1/4 cup minced red onion
    1 clove garlic, minced
    3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
    8 Asian or other long slender eggplants (each 6 to 7 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide)
    Lavash or pita bread


    1. Place the lamb in a large bowl and mix in the onion, garlic, parsley, salt, cumin, and pepper. Knead and squeeze the mixture with your hands until thoroughly blended, 3 to 4 minutes. To test the mixture for seasoning, cook a small amount in a nonstick skillet until cooked through, then taste, adding more salt and/or pepper to the remaining mixture as necessary; it should be highly seasoned.

    2. Trim the ends off the eggplants and discard them; cut each eggplant crosswise into 1-1/2-inch rounds. Thread each round, through the cut side, on a skewer, 4 to a skewer, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart.

    3. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Divide the meat mixture into twenty-four equal portions. Lightly wet your hands with cold water, then take one of the portions of meat and mold it around a skewer, between two eggplant rounds, making it as much as possible the same size and shape as the eggplant. Repeat with the remaining portions of meat so each skewer contains 4 eggplant rounds alternating with 3 portions of meat. As it is made, place each kebab on a baking sheet.

    4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If desired, use a grateless grill setup.

    5. When ready to cook, arrange the kebabs on the grill as described for grateless grilling or brush and generously oil the grill grate and place the kebabs directly on it. (If using bamboo skewers, place an aluminum foil shield under the ends of the skewers.) Grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes in all.

    6. Using a piece of lavash to protect your hand, slide the meat and eggplant off the skewers onto serving plates. If desired, trim away the charred eggplant skin before eating. Serve accompanied by lavash.

    If you are not planning to cook the kebabs immediately, cover them loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate them.

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