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Lamb Skewers with Spring Mint Recipe and the Science of the Marinade

The art of marinading meat has been a culinary practice for hundreds of years and was most likely used to preserve meat.  In fact, the term marinade was dubbed from the practice of using sea water to preserve meat during a long sea voyage. There are two approaches to marination.  First, and most common to North America is the acidic marination. For an acidic marination, the meat is submerged in a mixture containing a low Ph liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, a touch of cooking oil, and an aromatic component.  Each component is essential for an effective marinade. The oil, even a tiny bit, aids the initial penetration of the meat allowing it to absorb the flavors from the acid and aromatic components. The acid goes to work by denaturing proteins, and will result in a tender eating experience.  The other approach to marination uses enzymes to increase the rate of break down the proteins in the meat causing the meat to tenderize.  Fruits such as papaya and pineapple contain natural enzymes and can be used as the base to produce a tropically inspired dish.One of our all-time favorite recipes is SH&W’s Lamb Skewers with Spring Mint.  This is the perfect recipe for a spring or summer grill-out and perfectly marries the natural flavor combination of lamb and mint.

Lamb Skewers with Spring Mint

Ingredients:

1 Medium Size Leg of Lamb (Trimmed and Cubed)

8 Cloves Fresh Garlic1 Bunch Fresh Mint (Minced)

1/2 Cup Apricot Preserves

2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. Coarsely Fresh Ground Black Pepper

½ Tbsp. Sea Salt

2 tsp. Ground Coriander

1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive OilPeel and mince garlic.

Add salt to garlic and smear them together so the salt soaks up the garlic essence from the cutting board.In a sealable container, combine the lamb, with the garlic salt mixture, mint, apricot preserves, vinegar, black pepper, coriander and olive oil.

Let marinade for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight.Skewer the marinated lamb leaving a small space between each piece on the skewer.  Save the remaining marinade for basting.Grill on high heat for 8-10 minutes basting for the first 4 minutes with the left-over marinade.  Cook until medium rare.Serve hot with Hummus and Quinoa Tabouli on the side.

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