Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lamb and Sweet Onion Pitas with Orange-Cucumber Salad

Tim and I made these tasty pitas a couple of weekends ago and really loved them.  They have lots of great flavors, combining ground lamb, caramelized onions (yum!), a crunchy orange-cucumber salad, and cooling Greek yogurt (not pictured - I forgot about it until we got to the table!).  We had a little trouble finding ground lamb, and ended up buying lamb lula from an Armenian market, which is ground lamb mixed with onions, parsley, and possibly some other tasty things (the butcher wasn't totally clear on this).  This actually worked out perfectly since the lamb was pre-seasoned, but I'm sure regular ground lamb would be very tasty as well - you can always throw in some extra onions and parsley if you like. 

You can make this recipe with two people - one to man the skillet and the other to prepare the salad - and both tasks will take approximately the same time.  If you're making this by yourself, I definitely recommend fixing the salad (or at least prepping the oranges) before starting the onions.  Supreme-ing citrus, at least for a non-expert like me, is always a messy task that takes some concentration, so I wouldn't have wanted to switch back and forth between a hot pan while doing it.  Certainly the salad wouldn't suffer from a few extra minutes of marinating, and you're less like to end up with burned onions.

Lamb and Sweet Onion Pitas with Orange-Cucumber Salad (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 2

Olive oil
1/2 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound ground lamb (or lamb lula)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 large orange
1 small Persian cucumber (or 1/2 small English cucumber), halved and thinly sliced
1 T red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint (about 1 sprig)
2 pitas, halved and toasted if desired
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (more to taste)

1. Heat a thin layer of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add most of the onion (reserving a few slices), and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add the lamb to the skillet with more oil if needed, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, until cooked through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain well.
3. Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining raw onion and transfer to a large bowl.  Supreme the orange over a bowl to collect the juices and cut the segments into chunks.  Add the oranges, orange juice, cucumber, vinegar, mint, and 1/2 T oil to the raw onion and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more vinegar or oil as needed.
4. Fill the pitas with the lamb, cooked onions, and orange-cucumber salad.  Add a dollop of Greek yogurt to each pita and serve.

I'm sending this recipe off to this month's Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge: World Cuisines.


  1. I am not sure I've cooked with ground lamb before - looks delicious (sans the onions!)

  2. Looks tasty! I love the cucumbers!

  3. These sound great! I will have to keep an eye open for ground lamb. I especially like the look of the orange-cucumber salads. It sounds fresh and perfect for warmer weather.

    Thanks for submitting this for Kitchen Bootcamp!

  4. Hi - I saw the link from Jen's blog and it was like deja vu! I made this recipe and blogged it too. Isn't that salad great? I made just the salad again last night.