Try Lamb On The Grill

IN THE KITCHEN

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When you fire up your backyard grill this summer, head for the sunny Mediterranean -- at least in flavor. Think sweet, tender and mildly flavored American lamb, luscious on the grill and available year-round at the meat counter. Then give it a savory and delicious flair with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, prepared pesto, fresh cucumbers and feta cheese. Include side dishes made with easy-to-prepare couscous or orzo, pita bread warmed over the coals and fresh tomatoes. Toast your backyard feast with a glass of great wine and say "santé!" to summer.

Pesto Grilled Lamb Chops with Couscous and Mediterranean Salsa

Salsa

1 (13-ounce) jar roasted florina peppers, drained and cut into 1 1/2-inch strips

1/2 (6-ounce) jar pitted kalamata olives, drained and halved

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Lamb and Couscous

6 lamb loin chops (about 2 1/2 pounds total)

2 tablespoons prepared pesto, divided

1 (5.45-ounce) box sun-dried tomato couscous

In medium bowl, combine peppers, olives, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, olive oil and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Heat grill. Lightly brush both sides of each lamb chop with 1/2 teaspoon pesto. Place meat on prepared grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until meat reaches internal temperature of 160 degrees for medium doneness.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous as package directs. Serve grilled lamb chops over couscous and top with Mediterranean Salsa.

Serves 6

Tip: Any leftover salsa is great served on toasted baguettes.

Lamb Pitas with Roasted Peppers, Cucumbers and Feta

1 pound boneless shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red onion, cut into small wedges

1 small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

4 medium roasted florina peppers, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

4 soft pitas or flatbread, warmed

1/2 cup creamy cucumber salad dressing

In large plastic food storage bag, combine lamb, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, oregano and garlic. Marinate meat in refrigerator several hours or overnight.

Heat grill. Alternately thread lamb and onion wedges onto each of four skewers. Grill lamb kabobs 8 to 10 minutes or until meat reaches internal temperature of 155 degrees to 160 degrees for medium doneness.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cucumber, peppers and feta. To serve, place chopped grilled lamb and onions in pita bread, top with pepper and cucumber mixture and drizzle with dressing.

Serves 4

Grilled Lamb Kabobs With Orzo

1 pound boneless shoulder or leg of American Lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, cut into small wedges

1 cup orzo pasta

2 roasted florina peppers, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered

1 teaspoon lemon zest

In large plastic food storage bag, combine lamb, 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary and garlic. Marinate meat in refrigerator several hours or overnight.

Heat grill. Alternately thread lamb, zucchini and onion wedges onto each of four skewers. Meanwhile, prepare orzo as package directs.

Place kabobs on heated grill. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until meat reaches internal temperature of 155 degrees to 160 degrees for medium doneness. Toss cooked pasta with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, peppers, olives and lemon zest. Serve kabobs alongside warm pasta.

Serves 4

Recipes from Family Features Inc.

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