Kebab Kid - a trip down memory lane...
|My love of lamb shawarma was born in 1994, my second year of catering college. To gain as much experience as possible I worked in Westminster Catering College’s Vincent Square restaurant. After my weekly shift had finished instead of taking the long, slow train from Victoria all the way back to Dorking, one of my fellow students would sometimes give a few of us a lift part-way to Raynes Park, to help break-up the journey. On this drive it became our weekly ritual to detour via the Fulham Road for a pit-stop at the legendary Kebab Kid to treat ourselves to a large lamb shawarma, chilli sauce and salad.|
|Unlike the traditional “elephant leg” kebab this amazing lamb taste sensation was made of slices of slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. With nostalgia running through my head I simply had to re-create the experience, minus the students and the drive to the Fulham Road!|
|The shawarma is best left to marinade overnight, so the day before I took one of our boned and rolled Southdown lamb shoulders, untied the joint and spread it out flat in a large dish. I had a whole Hill House Lamb shoulder, which happily fed four of us, including two ravenous teenage boys. I prepared a marinade of slivers of fresh garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper and chilli, made into a paste with some cold pressed English rapeseed oil, which I rubbed all over both sides of the flattened lamb.|
|The next day I cut my lamb into square chunks around 10cm by 10cm, then stacked them onto the skewer, with the largest at the bottom. I used a ‘MySpike’ kebab spike, but I am confident you could achieve a similar effect with 4 or 5 long wooden or metal skewers. Top tip - one error I did make is that I should have put a little cap on the top of the stack, either a piece of tin foil or perhaps a small onion, as the uppermost piece of the kebab did catch a little when cooking.|
I placed the kebab vertically in a small round tray, with a little red wine in the bottom of the tray. I am sure the boys on the Fulham Road never did this, but I always like to ensure a little steam in my cook to keep the meat moist.You can either cook the kebab in a kettle style BBQ, like my Green Egg, or you can cook it in the oven, I would take all the shelves out and place on the bottom of the oven. If you chose the oven option, you won’t get the smokey BBQ taste, but it will still be a great flavour.
|If using a BBQ I suggest using some wood chips but a word about wood smoke. Apple is a good smoke for lamb, but it’s received negative press in my household with Mrs J and son #2 finding the taste too sweet, so I have switched to hickory smoke chips for lamb, which has received unanimous approval in the Jones household! You’ll need to have 2 or 3 good handfuls of hickory chips, soak them in cold water for approximately 45 minutes before starting to cook your meat. When you are ready to start cooking drain the smoking chips and then spread them out on the hot coals. If you are using gas, then pop the chips in a smoking box or an empty tuna tin or two and place near to the flames, to allow them to smoulder slowly during the cook.|
I cooked the kebab for 5 hours on a fairly low heat around 110c., keeping an eye on the wine/cooking liquor in the base of the pan, topping it up as and when needed. I find this helps keep the meat moist. Once cooked through, I removed from the Big Green Egg and wrapped in food wrap to rest the meat for 20-30 minutes. Then I opened up the vents on the Egg to increase the heat and roasted some vegetables to accompany the shawarma.
We served it up in some pitta bread, warmed in the toaster, filling each pocket with carefully sliced shawarma and topped it off with the roasted veg. For old times sake I put a good splash of sweet chilli sauce on mine too.
|And as an extra touch we had Chaka Demus & Pilars, Oasis and Whigfield playing on the stereo as we enjoyed our blast from the past meal. I was totally transported back to 1994!|