It turns out, I was right. My husband did want ribs for Father’s Day. And he rocked them. But more on that later. I really wanted to try the lamb skewers that I had scheduled for Sunday, so we had a little switcheroo on the menu. Lamb skewers on Saturday night, ribs and barbeque chicken on Sunday afternoon. We were fortunate to have all of our kids at home on Saturday night (not so for Sunday), which meant another change in the menu since the farrotto recipe (via Collards and Carbonara) was not vegetarian friendly. A little flexibility goes a long way.
I’m sort of obsessed with farro right now. Really obsessed, actually. I couldn’t give up on serving farro with the lamb skewers so chose a vegetarian recipe instead – kale and farro salad with feta and mint. Fortunately, our vegetarian is no longer gluten-free, so she could not only eat this salad but we could add some chickpeas to it for protein. This salad was so easy and absolutely delicious. Everyone over the age of five loved it.
Farro cooks like rice in that it does take some advance planning (30-35 minutes of cooking time after boiling) and like pasta in that the exact proportions of water to grain are not important. I love me some flexibility. I could not find Tuscan kale as called for, but substituting your standard grocery store variety kale was fine. I (of course) didn’t measure two cups of kale. I just tossed kale into the bowl until it looked good. My kind of cooking is not very scientific. Perhaps this is why my baking skills leave much to be desired. Anyway, a simple dressing of red onion, lemon juice, lemon zest, mint, and olive oil gave the salad a nice flavor. Perfect for a summer dinner in the backyard.
On to the main event. Some people do not like lamb. And some (me!) are afraid to cook it. If you are one of those people, let me just say it is time to get over it. I loved this lamb. Actually, all of the girls loved the lamb. The guys were a bit hung up on the skewers having too much sweetness. Too many apricots. Whiners. This was delicious. I will warn you in advance that the lamb does need to sit a bit in the marinade and also that the marinade has a lot of ingredients. Please do yourself a favor and find the apricot nectar. It is well worth your time. Also, there is apparently no substitute for fresh bay leaves (which I gave up on after two grocery stores), so if you live in the sticks like I do, just use some thyme or something. Trust me, the dish will still be delicious.
Don’t be afraid to go a bit on the rare side with these skewers. I sampled some that were well done, some that were medium, and some on the rare side of medium. I am ordinarily not adventurous when it comes to red meat and lack of cooking but in this case, the rarer side of medium was far better than the well done. This entire meal is worth the effort. I saved some time by calling my local grocer and having the lamb cubed before I picked it up. If you have time to make the sauce in the morning and leave your lamb marinating all day, that works. The skewers themselves don’t take much time to cook. Live on the edge. You will be happy you tried this.