By • June 9, 2011 • 0 Comments

Author Notes: In 1970 I spent Thanksgiving in Beirut, Lebanon. At that time it was called the "Paris of the Middle-East" and that was a reasonable assertion. There were shops, movie houses, theaters, and even pool halls. The people were cheerful, optimistic, cosmopolitan, and friendly. I was a college student at the time visiting with fellow students and we wandered the streets having a marvelous time and stopping, every now and then, to purchase a schawarma from a street vendor. These marvelously savory lamb sandwiches were absolutely addictive and we must have consumed five or six of these apiece in the four days we were there.Kevin

Serves 4


  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 - 3 lamb leg steaks - 1 - 1.5 pounds
  • 4 rounds flat bread
  • thinly-sliced tomato
  • lettuce


  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup yogurt, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons sumac, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper.
  2. Pour yogurt marinade into a gallon zippered bag, add lamb steaks, and refrigerate for 8 - 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 225 degrees.
  4. Remove steaks from bag, discarding marinade, and wipe dry (more or less) with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown steaks on both sides in pan (about 3 minutes per side).
  5. Pour off excess oil, cover sauté pan, and cook in the oven for 1 hour. In the meantime, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. Remove steaks from pan and slice thinly across the grain. Spoon sauce down the center of a loaf of flat bread or pita. Add tomato and a leaf or two of lettuce. Add lamb, roll up, and enjoy.
  7. And save those juices in the sauté pan and sop bread in them for an amazing treat.

Tags: Middle Eastern, savory, street food

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