I have noticed a lot of searches on the blog for Persian recipes so today we are taking it back to the roots! Lamb shashlik is my husband’s favourite Persian dish and I can definitely see why. It’s a Persian style lamb chops dish that is juicy, tender and bursting with flavour. It may become your new favourite as well! Not to boast or anything, but he even says that it tastes better than when we order it at the restaurant. Not that he is biased or anything… hehe 😉
Lamb shashlik is a quick and easy way to prepare lamb chops. It takes less than 20 minutes to get the perfect medium/rare to medium lamb chop. Of course, if you prefer your meat to be well-done, you just need to adjust the cooking time. Or alternatively, if you prefer a solid medium-rare, lower the cooking time by a few minutes. This may become your new favourite way to make lamb chops!
What gives this that decadent Persian/Middle Eastern taste is the marinade. We love yogurt. We douse it on just about anything. We even dilute it with water, add salt and drink it. So, naturally, we marinade our meat in a yogurt mixture. This mixture also contains lemon, garlic, onions and saffron. I personally don’t like chunks of onion stuck on my meat when I cook it and that is why I choose to put the marinade through the food processor before I use it. But if you don’t mind, then just chop up the onions and garlic more finely and you are good to go.
Although this dish is quick and easy to make, you have to prepare ahead of thyme time to ensure your lamb is fully marinated and has soaked up all that yummy flavor. I would recommend 1-2 hours in the fridge. If you don’t have time to wait for the lamb to marinate, then do it the night before!
Once marinated and all ready to cook, leave the lamb out for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Traditionally, lamb shashlik is skewered and prepared on a barbeque grill, but considering the fact that is it January… the middle of WINTER, let’s use the oven! 🙂 The method that I use is to skillet-fry the lamb chops for a few minutes on each side first. This will “sear” the lamb, giving it those beautiful burnt marks. Then roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Juicy, tender and bursting with flavour, Persian style lamb chops (lamb shashlik) will be your new favourite way to make lamb chops.
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 medium onion, cut in large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, whole clove
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 10 lamb chops (I used lamb loin chops)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Marinade the lamb: Combine the yogurt, onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in your food processor and blend.
- Dissolve the ground saffron in the hot water.
- Add the saffron mixture to your food processor and continue to blend until sauce is yellow.
- Place the lamb chops in a large ziploc bag or tupperware container.
- Pour the marinade on the lamb chops and fully coat.
- Marinade in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
- Cook: Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Remove lamb chops from fridge and let it come back to room temperature while you are waiting for the oven to preheat.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Drain and transfer the lamb to the skillet. Discard the rest of the marinade.
- Sear the lamb, cooking for 3 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the lamb onto a lined baking tray
- Roast for 10 minutes (for medium-rare) or cook to your preference. Flip halfway through.