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Lamb and Sweet Onion Pitas with Orange-Cucumber Salad


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

Ground lamb is often a bargain buy. Here, it’s put to delicious use in an all-in-one meal of stuffed pita sandwiches and a bright, citrusy salad.

  • 2-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 pitas, halved and very lightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add about three-quarters of the onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a small bowl; set aside.

Cook the lamb, cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in the skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes; drain well.

Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining raw onion and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the peels and pith from the oranges. Working over a bowl to collect the juice, cut the orange segments free from the membranes. Cut the segments into chunks. Add the oranges, orange juice, cucumber, vinegar, mint, and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the chopped raw onion; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill the pitas with the lamb and cooked onions. Add some of the orange-cucumber salad and a dollop of yogurt. Serve the remaining salad on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470, Fat (kcal): 26, Fat Calories (g): 240, Saturated Fat (g): 9, Protein (g): 25, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Carbohydrates (mg): 33, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 580, Cholesterol (g): 80, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

This recipe is great in concept, but needs a little tweaking. My lamb was not very "lamby" so I'll try Australian lamb instead of US lamb next time. Flavors seemed a little flat so will probably up the cinnamon a bit & add some garlic for depth. Maybe could use some heat?? Love the orange salad with the lamb; wouldn't have thought of that combination. Might serve it on salad with toasted pita on the side to avoid the collapsing pita problem.

I've made this several times and it is just fabulous. For grins, though, I may add some toasted pine nuts for even more depth.

Super easy, delicious, everyone in the family loves it.

I have used this recipe many times and it is always a success.Easily available ingredients are important to me as our market does not have everything. I agree with all of the comments and advice by other readers. It is indeed a little hard to eat, but use a fork! Also, you will want to make extra because everyone likes it.

This recipe has so many things going for it! It's very quick and easy. It has a balance of flavors--sweet, salty, acidic, and the herbiness of mint. The textures are varied too--soft, chewy, crunchy, and creamy from the yogurt. I will be making this over and over!

Love it! We've had it twice since the magazine issue came out.

Very yummy. I served it like a taco salad over mixed greens and it was very tasty. Adding the cinnamon to the ground lamb really brings out the flavor. This is a recipe I will make again.

Don't skimp on serving size as everyone will want seconds & thirds! My entire family (husband + 3 boys 10-15 yrs old) devoured this. The orange salad is might want to make extra. I added more cinnamon to the lamb, and more mint to the salad. Yogurt added a wonderful cooling flavor.

Good flavors, but impossible to eat!! Betty from Belfast

This was delicious! Same yummy flavors as you find in a gyro (lamb, cucumber, onion, yogurt) but without the greasy guilt! The only tedious part is removing the orange membranes for the salad. Next time, I'd try leaving them in and just cut the orange segments into chunks--less fuss and probably not that much texture difference.

Yum, yum, yum. This recipe is delicious and filling, with loads of nutrients. The cinnamon is key, drawing out the sweetness of the lamb, and don't be afraid of the salt. The meat could use a little spicy heat to allow the cooling power of the yogurt and salad to get real contrast. I fond that the recipe really serves two - three rather than four. It's just too tasty to have half a pita each.

yum... found a new recipe!!

Very Good! Great quick week night meal!

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