Jerk Lamb, Corn, and Fruit Kebabs
Recipe and Photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Jamaican jerk seasonings transform these already luscious kebabs into a special meal. Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour for marinating time. You will need 10 to 12 skewers for these kebabs; if you you use bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before you start to grill. Grilling or roasting the poblano chili peppers enhances the flavor of this dish. Since there are a few easy ways to grill or roast the peppers, make sure to check out the Kitchen Tips for an alternative method.
Roasted Poblano Jerk-Style Marinade:
2 large grilled, peeled and seeded poblano chili, roughly chopped
1 medium sweet onion, skin washed but on, roughly chopped
(4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup soy sauce, dark preferred
½ cup dark rum
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cinnamon stick
1½ tablespoons whole allspice
1½ tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
3 large ears corn, husked and cut into 1- to 1½-inch rounds
3 peaches, ripe but not super-soft, pitted and cut into 2-inch crescents
2 semi-ripe mangos, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ large sweet onion, cut into wedges and separated into single layers
2 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- Grill the poblanos: heat a grill to high, rub each pepper with a little olive oil and place on the hottest part of the grill. Let the peppers grill, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin blackens all around. Place the warm peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature. Peel off the skin. Cut and remove the stems and seeds. It’s fine if there is a little burned skin left on the peppers. Do not rinse the peppers. (You can also roast them in the oven or on a gas stovetop. See Kitchen Tips.)
- Combine the onion, poblano chili, ginger, soy sauce, rum, cider vinegar, canola oil brown sugar, molasses, thyme sprigs, cinnamon, allspice, black peppercorns, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, until the mixture becomes very fragrant. Strain and allow to cool. This can be done up to 3 days before using. It should yield about 2 cups.
- Pour two-thirds of the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag and place the lamb pieces into it. Zip closed securely and slosh around in the bag to coat. Place the sealed bag into a mixing bowl and marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Reserve the remaining one-third of the marinade in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. If you are using metal skewers, spray them with a generous coat of nonstick vegetable oil spray. Heat the grill to medium-high.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. (Important: It cannot be reused in any way.)
- Assemble the skewers, alternating the corn, lamb, peaches, mango, onion, and zucchini or summer squash, and repeat the sequence, ending with a piece of corn.
- With an oiled paper towel and tongs, rub the grill with the oil. Place the kebabs on the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the kebabs and brush the reserved marinade (which was NOT used for the lamb) on the cooked side of the kebab. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer, or until the reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Turn and brush the other (now cooked) side and immediately transfer the skewers to a clean platter (see Kitchen Tips) and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Then serve right away.
- This also works exceptionally well with light or dark meat boneless chicken!
- If you prefer to roast the poblanos in the oven, do so well ahead of time or even the the night before. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub each pepper lightly with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until tender but not brown. If you have gas stovetop, you can put the oiled peppers right on the grates of the hottest, highest flame you have and allow it to blacken all round, turning them occasionally with large tongs and working in batches as necessary. Whichever way you cook them, place the warm peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature. Peel off the skin. Cut and remove the stems and seeds. It’s fine if there is a little burned skin left on the peppers. Do not rinse the peppers.
- Always use a fresh plate for fully any meat cooked on the grill, especially chicken; NEVER place it back on the plate that held it when it was raw, as the plate holds uncooked juices that might carry foodborne bacteria. These microorganisms are killed during cooking, but placing the cooked meat back into the uncooked juices can contaminate it.