January 12, 2011

Lamb Pitas with Lemon-Mint Sauce

The cookbook project isn't shaping up to what I thought it would be, so I think I am going to loosen up the parameters a bit. After all, it was my idea...so I can change it, right??? Anyway, due to time and budget constraints, I am just going to pick a cookbook and cook out of it until I get tired of it. Then, I will move on to the next. I could make just one recipe or several. I could use that particular book for just one week or spread it out over a few. The point is that it should make the project easier to juggle. I will still go through my collection one at a time, but I won't be hard-pressed to only pull the majority of my dinners for the week out of one resource. Whew! That makes it a lot less stressful.

I have one recipe slated for this week (this one), and two more recipes on tap next for week from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 cookbook.
Every year, Cooking Light will take it's entire catalog of magazine recipes and compile them into one volume. I love these compilation books, because I can recycle all my old magazine copies and still have the recipes from that particular year at my fingertips. I had some ground lamb that needed to be used, and I found this pita dish hidden in the back of the book. I decided to start with this as my first book (and recipe) for my project; especially since I had everything on hand for it, and it was a new twist on pitas for us.

Lamb Pitas with Lemon-Mint Sauce
Adapted From: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 cookbook

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 lb. of ground lamb
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint
whole wheat pita pockets, opened
lettuce of your choice
cucumber slices
sliced tomatoes

For Sauce:
1/2 cup of plain, fat-free Greek style yogurt
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of tahini
chopped fresh mint to taste

Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions and peppers with a pinch of salt. Once onions are start to caramelize and are soft, remove mixture to a plate. In the same skillet, cook ground lamb with salt, pepper, cumin, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Break up large chunks of meat with a wooden spoon and cook thoroughly. Once lamb is no longer pink, add minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Add onion and pepper mixture back to pan and remove from heat. Add mint and parsley to pan, stir to combine.

Stuff pita pockets with a handful of lettuce, meat mixture, sauce, tomato and cucumber slices. Serve immediately.

The Result:
My final dish barely resembled the original published recipe (linked above), but it still turned out to be fantastic. We really loved these pitas, and some glazed carrots were the perfect side dish to go with our sandwiches. Yum!

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