Lamb kebabs with fig rice

    1 hour 20 min

    Marinating is the key to success for these tender, juicy and sweet-tasting kebabs. Just half an hour will add delicious flavours to the lamb, although overnight is better if you have time. Serve with a leafy mixed salad, and a bowl of plain low-fat yogurt mixed with grated cucumber and chopped fresh mint and flat-leaf parsley.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 400 g (14 oz) lean lamb neck fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into 5 mm (1/4 in) cubes
    • 8 shallots
    • 1 aubergine, about 280 g (10 oz)
    • 2 courgettes, about 400 g (14 oz) in total
    • 1 lemon
    • salt and pepper
    • Fig rice
    • 300 g (10½ oz) basmati rice, well rinsed
    • 100 g (3½ oz) dried figs, chopped
    • 25 g (scant 1 oz) toasted flaked almonds
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:1hr20min 

    1. In a shallow dish whisk the oil with the lemon zest and juice, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cubes of lamb and coat them in the mixture, then cover the dish with cling film. Leave to marinate in a cool place for 30 minutes, or in the fridge overnight.
    2. Cut each shallot in half through the root. Cut the aubergine lengthways in half, then cut each half across into 8 slices. Cut each courgette into 8 slices and the lemon into 8 wedges.
    3. When ready to cook, preheat the grill to high. Remove the lamb from the marinade with a draining spoon, shaking the marinade back into the dish. Place the vegetables in the marinade and turn them to moisten.
    4. Thread the lamb and vegetables onto 8 long metal kebab skewers, placing the lemon wedges on the ends. Don't pack the ingredients too tightly together on the skewers or they will not cook thoroughly. Put the skewers under the grill, about 7.5 cm (3 in) away from the heat if possible, or reduce the heat of the grill to moderate. Cook for 6–8 minutes on each side.
    5. Meanwhile, put the rice in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain well and stir in the chopped figs, flaked almonds and salt and pepper to taste. Add the lemon juice. Serve the fig rice on warmed plates, with the lamb kebabs placed on top.

    Some more ideas

    Serve with quinoa instead of basmati rice. Cook 225 g (8 oz) quinoa with 4 times its volume of water for 15–20 minutes. * Flavour the rice or quinoa with sultanas or chopped dried apricots instead of the figs. * For Greek-style kebabs, marinate the lamb in a mixture of 200 g (7 oz) plain low-fat yogurt, the grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove and 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint. Toss the vegetables with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and thread onto skewers. Thread the lamb onto separate skewers. Grill the lamb and vegetable kebabs for 6–8 minutes on each side. Serve in warm pitta breads with shredded lettuce, diced cucumber, sliced tomatoes and a few stoned and sliced black olives.

    Plus points

    Aubergines are satisfyingly filling but low in calories – 100 g (3½ oz) contains just 15 kcal. They are renowned for absorbing oil when fried, but cooking them this way keeps the fat content very low. * Dried figs are a good source of potassium, calcium and iron as well as fibre, both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation and bowel disorders. * Rice is a good gluten-free starchy carbohydrate, useful for those who suffer from coeliac disease.

    Each serving provides

    B1, B2, B6, B12, C, niacin, zinc * folate, calcium, iron * A

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