Here’s a kebab recipe for your next barbecue – grilled skewers of lamb and fresh figs with a sweet, spicy, minty glaze. The subtle sweet flavor of grilled figs is so delicious with the charred rich grilled lamb. The glaze takes it over the top.
This is one of my longtime favorite grilling recipes for spring and summer entertaining. It's easy and elegant. The lamb is accompanied by fresh seasonal ingredients - figs, spring onions, and mint. There's a magical combo of exciting flavors in this dish. The lamb and figs are seasoned with garlic and cumin, then brushed with a glaze of apricot preserves, crushed red pepper, and fresh mint, as they sear on the grill. The result is spectacular. This is a great party dish.
All the credit for this recipe goes to Chef Chris Schlesinger and Epicurious. I've made only minor modifications to the recipe since I first discovered it, ten years go. I reduced the salt, increased the cumin. I made the lamb cubes a bit larger because I find they're juicier that way. I added green onions to the skewers because I adore grilled onions, they go really well with grilled lamb and figs, and I love the way the kebabs look with bits of green and white to break up all the brown of the grilled lamb and figs.
HOW TO MAKE THESE LAMB AND FIG SKEWERS
Combine apricot preserves with vinegar and red pepper flakes. Simmer to thicken, cool, and stir in a quarter cup of chopped fresh mint leaves.
Combine lamb cubes and sliced figs with olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper.
Thread the lamb, figs and green onions onto 17-inch skewers
Grill the skewers for a few minute on each side, brushing with glaze towards the end of grilling time.
Serve grilled lamb and fig skewers with a simple salad of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with crumbled feta and chopped mint. Or serve with a side of cumin-spiced rice, crumbled feta and extra mint.
If your herb garden is overtaken with mint, as mine is, you might want to consider making these minty frozen mojitos to accompany your grilled lamb and fig kebabs - an exciting fusion of spicy Mediterranean kebabs with a frosty Caribbean cocktail.
And if you love grilled figs as much as I do, you will adore this appetizer recipe, grilled figs, prosciutto and burrata.
Here's the grilled lamb and fig skewers recipe. wIf you make this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Grilled Lamb and Fig Skewers with Mint Pepper Glaze
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
An outstanding dish for the grill, with exciting Middle Eastern flavors.
- For The Mint-Pepper glaze:
- ⅔ cup apricot preserves or jam
- ⅓ cup sherry vinegar (or substitute red wine vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- The zest of 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon lemon zest)
- ¼ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for sprinkling on top
- For The lamb
- 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed, cut into 1½-inch cubes (If the lamb is very fatty you might want to buy an extra ½ pound)
- 12-14 fresh Black Mission figs or Brown Turkey Figs, halved lengthwise through the stem (look for firm ripe figs. If they're overripe or mushy they won't hold up on the grill)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (3-4 medium cloves)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (or substitute Maras pepper or 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper)
- 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces (look for thick scallions)
- Special equipment: 8-10 (17-inch) metal skewers
- Make The Glaze: In small saucepan combine apricot preserves, vinegar, red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until thickened and jammy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the mint.
- Preheat The Grill to Medium High
- Season the Lamb: In a large bowl, gently toss lamb cubes and figs with olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Thread lamb cubes, figs and scallions onto skewers.
- Grill Lamb Skewers: Arrange skewers on the grill. Cook for four minutes with the grill cover closed. Brush generously with glaze and turn. Grill for 3 minutes more with the cover closed. Brush generously with glaze and turn. Grill for 30 seconds more, uncovered, for medium rare. (Lamb will be slightly underdone but will continue to cook after being removed from grill)
- Serve kebabs with extra mint sprinkled on top.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Thanks for the recipe tips.
I'm going to make these for a small dinner party and would like to make them in advance. How do you recommend I reheat them at the time. A bit concerned the lamb might get overdone?
The best way is to prep them ahead but cook them at the last minute: get all the meat and veggies onto skewers, and wrap them up in plastic wrap or foil, keep them in the fridge until you're ready to grill. Grilling only takes a few minutes. But if you'd rather cook them completely, make sure you don't over cook them - just sear them on the grill but keep them rare. Let them cool a bit and wrap them in foil and store them in the fridge. Reheat them in a 350F oven - lay them out on a baking pan, cover them with foil, heat for 10-15 minutes, until they're heated through. You can also save some of the glaze and heat that up and brush some hot glaze over the kebabs just before serving. I hope that helps! Have a great dinner party.
Thank you Lisa. This worked very well and they came out perfectly. I seared them over a very hot charcoal BBQ earlier in the day. Just a minute each side with lid on gave them great color and smoke. Then in the fridge. Just 10 minutes in the 350F oven, some extra glaze and voila! Tender, medium rare heaven. Thanks again, a delicious recipe.
BTW, I used lamb loin chops for the meat source. Each chop gave 3 large, regular cubes of lean, tender meat after trimming. 12 chops for 8 people.
Also, couldn't find fresh figs, so used Sunmaid Mission dried figs. Delicious - and incredibly moist.
Hi Matthew, I'm so glad you were able to get all the prep and grilling done ahead and that it all worked out so well for your dinner party. And great to know that in a pinch dried figs do the trick.
Elizabeth @ Bowl of Delicious
I love that you've taken the traditional lamb+mint a step further- love the awesome flavors in this dish and the sweetness of the figs paired with everything. These look AMAZING. I'm going to make them and eat outside and pretend I'm on a Greek Isle somewhere in the Mediterranean 🙂
Love it!! Thanks, Lisa!
OMG this sounds amazing. But the season for fresh figs here in New England is very short. Any suggestions for a substitute that would work in this recipe?
Hi Sue, good point about fig season. There are lots of possibilities for substitutions. One thing you can do is reconstitute dried mission figs by steeping them in hot water. Put them in a small saucepan and cover them by an inch with water. You can put in 1/4 cup of dry sherry for flavor, if you want. Bring the pot to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the figs steep for 5-10 minutes, until they plump up and you can slice them and skewer them. Other options: whole dates, sweet vidalia onions, fresh peaches, red or yellow bell peppers. Let me know what you end up doing and how it turns out!