Look, it’s cool that you’re a “Ranch Head.” We’re all about cooking with ranch. Besides, ranch has become America’s favorite salad dressing / all-purpose dip. It turns up everywhere, in mac n’ cheese, on wraps and even in Chick-fil-A’s signature sauce.
The pinnacle of ranch’s popularity might be a ranch dressing cookbook called Ranch: An Ode to America’s Beloved Sauce in 60 Mouth-Watering Recipes. The release date is September 25, but we’re testing and sharing one recipe ahead of schedule!
Ranch-Marinated Lamb Skewers
From the cookbook Ranch, by Abby Reisner. It’s chock-full of recipes for ranch and recipes made with ranch, including this one.
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 lemon, halved, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the grill
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 Calabrian chilies, thinly sliced
Note: You also need 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for about an hour. (Here’s why you soak ’em.)
Step 1: Round up the ingredients
I’ll admit, I find long recipe lists intimidating. But this one really only seems long. I already had yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk (pancake addict here!) in my fridge, and all the seasonings in my cupboard. I even had some lamb in my freezer. It came down to shopping at my corner market for the fresh herbs and chilies.
I should mention, however, that I discovered too late that the lamb in my freezer wasn’t lamb shoulder, but bone-in lamb loin chops, so the kabobs weren’t happening. Spoiler: It was still awesome.
Step 2: Make your marinade
In a large bowl, start by whisking together the marinade. I used a mini-chopper to mince the garlic, parsley, dill and mint (I have a fabulous and very affordable Ninja). I then combined the herbs with my sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice, onion powder, mustard powder, sumac, 1 teaspoon of salt and vinegar. I seasoned with pepper and then whisked in the buttermilk.
Taste of Home
A quick finger-dip told me the seasonings were just right, so no adjustments necessary before I reserved one and a half cups of the ranch for later. I used the rest to marinate the lamb: in a large resealable bag, I combined the lamb with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge overnight, growing more tender by the minute.
Taste of Home
Step 3: Grill the meat
I preheated my gas grill to 400˚, which allows for a nice sear, wiped the excess marinade off the lamb, and placed it on the grill. I turned it over after 2 minutes and then turning down the heat to 350˚. I turned them again after 5 minutes and took them out after 10 minutes so they’d be medium by the time they were done resting.
(For anyone who’s making kabobs, thread the lamb pieces onto the skewers, and season the skewers with salt and pepper. Grill the lamb, turning occasionally, until charred in some spots, about 7 minutes.)
While the lamb rested, I grilled my lemon halves until beautifully darkened.
Step 4: Serve!
I drizzled the honey over the lamb, and topped with chile slices and a sprinkling of the reserved herbs. Then you squeeze the grilled lemon halves over the lamb and serve with the reserved ranch marinade.
Taste of Home
“It’s good,” says my son, which if you knew him, you’d recognize as a rave review. And I agreed! The ranch-enhanced lamb browned up beautifully and turned out tender and moist—the flavor was equal parts sweet, salty, sour and spicy (from the chiles).
In short order, nothing was left but bones, which our elderly Beagle-Bassett mix, was thrilled to clean off for us. (He gave them a thorough cleaning and then promptly buried them in my Echinacea.)
Thoughts for next time
Next time I make these—and there will definitely be a next—I wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe—although I might be persuaded to make this as it was meant to be: kabobs.