The ground meat for this kebab—I usually buy shoulder of lamb—should have a good amount of fat so that it remains moist and juicy. Most of it will melt away in the heat of the grill. You will need skewers with a thick, wide blade to hold the meat and prevent it from rolling around. Alternatively, it is easier and equally good to shape the meat into burgers. Serve them with Arab flat breads and accompany them with a salad and a choice of mezze.

  • 2 medium onions

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb, taken from the shoulder with some fat

  • Salt and black pepper

1. Grate or finely chop the onion in the food processor, drain, and turn it into a bowl. Add the chopped parsley to the onion. Cut the meat into chunks, then blend it in the food processor to a soft paste, adding salt and pepper. Mix the meat paste with the parsley and onion, and knead with your hand until well blended.


2. Divide the meat into 8 balls and wrap each one around a skewer, pressing it firmly so that it holds together in a long, flat, sausage shape. Alternatively, flatten the balls into burgers. Place the skewers, or burgers, on the oiled grill of a barbecue, over the embers of a charcoal fire or on a rack under the broiler, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, turning them over once, until browned outside but still pink inside.

Excerpted from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon by Claudia Roden (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). Copyright 2007 by Claudia Roden.

Claudia Roden is a chef, food writer and author. She has written several books on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, most recently The Book of Jewish Food, which won a James Beard award.