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Recipe

Yogurt-Marinated Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Lemon Labneh

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

This flavorful dish pairs juicy Middle Eastern-spiced pork with a lemony spread made by straining yogurt to make labneh, an ultra-thick salted yogurt cheese. The pork and labneh both need an overnight rest in the fridge, so plan ahead. Sumac is a brick-red spice with a lemony flavor. It’s a pretty touch, but if you don’t have it, simply leave it out.

Ingredients

For the pork

  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, homemade or store-bought
  • 3-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Olive oil spray

For the labneh

  • 4 cups plain yogurt, homemade or store-bought
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch white pepper
  • Kosher salt

For serving

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 1/4 tsp. sumac (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 300
      Fat Calories (kcal): 110
      Fat (g): 12
      Saturated Fat (g): 6
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
      Cholesterol (mg): 105
      Sodium (mg): 450
      Carbohydrates (g): 11
      Fiber (g): 1
      Sugar (g): 9
      Protein (g): 36

Preparation

Marinate the pork

  • In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, 1-1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the pork and turn to coat. Cover with plastic, pressing it against the top of the mixture, or scrape into a 1-gallon zip-top bag. Press out the air and seal the bag. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.

Make the labneh

  • Set a strainer over a bowl and line with two layers of damp cheesecloth or paper towels, allowing a few inches of overhang. Spoon in the yogurt, and gently stir in 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover with the cheesecloth overhang or another paper towel. Top with a plate slightly smaller than the strainer and weigh down the plate with a can or jar. Cover loosely with plastic. Refrigerate until very thick, at least 12 hours and up to 24. Discard the whey or reserve for another use.
  • Stir the lemon zest, lemon juice, and white pepper into the labneh. Season to taste with salt.

Cook the pork

  • Transfer the pork to a colander in the sink. Let drain until most of the marinade has dripped away and the pork is at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Divide among six 12-inch metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes. Spray the pork with olive oil and season lightly with salt.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) grill fire, or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Grill, turning once, until the meat is just barely pink in the center and dark grill marks appear, 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve

  • Distribute the labneh among 6 dinner plates, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Scatter the cucumber on top. Divide the skewers among the plates. Sprinkle the sumac, if using, over the pork and cucumbers, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve.

Tip

If you prefer, you can substitute 1-3/4 cups store-bought labneh and skip the straining step (you can also skip the 1/2 tsp. salt, but you may want more to taste). You’ll still want to use regular yogurt for marinating the pork, however.

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