Lamb Skewers with Thyme Recipe

Brochettes d’agneau au thym

It’s strange how much more comfortable I am around vegetables than meat. Vegetables feel familiar, safe and easy to work with. I never run out of things to do with or to them, I know how to choose them, how they’re supposed to feel in your hand, how long they keep and how they react to various treatments and seasonings.

Meat, on the other hand, is a much more mysterious matter to me. Different breeds, different cuts, different levels of quality, tenderness and fat content, different methods of brining, curing, searing, roasting, grilling… and most of the time at the butcher shop, I have to rely on the little labels pricked into the meat to even know what animal it comes from.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating meat, but I have to push myself outside my comfort zone to cook with it.

I was waiting in line at the butcher’s the other day, trying to decide what I could get that looked tasty and interesting, when I spotted their pre-made lamb skewers, all colorful and pretty. I was tempted but I thought, where is the fun in ready-to-cook skewers? And since I had tomatoes, onions and bell peppers at home, I opted to just buy the meat, and make my own simple lamb and thyme skewers.

Assembling skewers is every bit as fun as stringing pearl necklaces, only you get to eat the tender, fragrant, caramelized meat afterwards — an even nicer reward for your efforts.

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Lamb Skewers with Thyme Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Serves 4.

Lamb Skewers with Thyme Recipe


  • 600 grams (1.3 pounds) lamb shoulder or leg of lamb (épaule or gigot)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Assemble the skewers 2 hours ahead of time if possible, so the seasoning will have time to permeate the meat.
  2. Cut the meat into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes; you should get about twenty. You can also ask the butcher to do it for you.
  3. Peel the onion, quarter it, then cut each quarter in two. Separate the layers of onion.
  4. Quarter the tomatoes, cut out their stems and run your thumb in the cavities to remove the juice and seeds.
  5. Quarter the bell pepper lengthwise, remove the stem, membranes and seeds. Cut in 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces.
  6. On a clean cutting board, arrange the meat cubes in four lines. Intersperse them in a regular pattern with pieces of tomato, onion and bell pepper, dividing these equally among the four lines.
  7. Thread each prepared line onto a skewer, sprinkle generously on all sides with salt, pepper and thyme, and transfer to a baking dish large enough to accommodate them comfortably. If there is time, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  9. Cook the skewers in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, to desired doneness (we like them pink inside), flipping the skewers halfway through. Serve immediately.
  10. Alternatively, these skewers can be cooked on the barbecue.
  • They are wonderful. It’s so delicious !

  • Cam

    I love to do ‘bobs’ on the BBQ. Lamb can be replaced with chicken or beef. I sometimes add mushrooms as well.
    If using wooden skewers, I usually soak them in water for 30 min.

  • Christy

    This makes me so envious – I’ve never been able to find lamb in the US that is anywhere near as tender and delicious as in France. Time for a trip, I think! Your kabobs look lovely! What did you serve them with?

  • idratherbecookin

    That looks like such a tasty meal within itself but I often make lamb tenderloin chunks skewered with sprigs of rosemary and a feta based dipping sauce for an elegant yet simple aperitif. It can be turned into an entire meal if you are able to get rosemary with long enough stems jJust leave the sprig of rosemary on the tip and strip the rest off for marinating.

  • We grilled shrimp, spring onions, zucchini and red bell peppers this weekend. I sat looking at a colorful, perfectly grilled plate and thought, I bet Clotilde would love this! It made me laugh to think your thoughts on food are so present in my mind, you could be a guest at my table.
    Your site is a much-anticpated break in my work day.
    Merci beaucoup!

  • Claire


    Étant francophone, et frustrée de ne trouver des blogs intéressants sur la cuisine qu’en anglais, j’ai eu la curiosité d’aller voir la version «assez libre» qu’en fait l’outil de traduction de Google… Ça vaut le coup d’oeil.


  • don’t mean to rain on the parade, but I’m a vegetarian. I was so excited at the beginning of your article and the waxing about the wonder of vegetables, and then my heart sunk when the photo downladed and the article went in the other direction. :(

    Vegetarian kebabs are good too! In Japan they grill vegetables. Mushrooms, pumpkin, onion, shishito (a kind of very very mild hot pepper that you eat as is), corn, and of course grilled Tofu my favorite. To accompany the grill there are tare (grill sauces) that have sesame, and all kinds of different flavors.

    There’s plenty to eat without eating meat!


    Tokyo, Japan

  • I love shishkebabs or skewers….just a week or two ago I made ones alternating shrimp, chicken, and baby portobello mushrooms! so good.

  • Jenny

    I made these last night and they were wonderful – even my usually picky husband was impressed. I substituted baby portabellas for the tomato and used a more Mediterranian marinade with garlic, lemon and olive oil. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Alisa

    Aye, me too! I have/had the same issues with “knowing” meat. Had always attributed mine with a long term stint as a vegetarian – but hey, maybe not necessarily so. Still with the exception of chicken and fish, I cling to a recipe when shopping and cooking meat. Good for you to go where you had not gone before.

  • Another great lamb (or general meat) kabob marinade is yogurt mixed with lots of crushed garlic. If using chicken cubes, I often include a bit of saffron as well. You could also include crushed mint in with the yogurt and garlic.
    For less tender beef or lamb cubes, I like to marinade for 24 hours (prepare them and start to marinade immediately after dinner th evening before during clean-up). A great ‘central asian’ twist on kabobs.

  • Thanks Clotilde, those sound deeelicious! Last night for the second time and at my husband’s request I made your ginger pineapple chicken skewers – so good:) I love to skewer things now, it just wasn’t something I did, I can’t wait to try the lamb. -Aria

  • Clotilde, like everything you make, your lamb brochettes look divine! For a spicier take on brochettes, you might be interested in checking out a book from my favorite Indian cookbook author, Madhur Jaffrey, called “From Curries to Kebabs.”

  • john

    A problem can arise with skewers on the grill because things cook at different speeds–people put lamb, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms on, then wonder why the lamb is *bleu* or the onions are burnt. One solution: do them on separate skewers, with different start times; then re-thread for presentation. Extra work but you get to give each component the cooking time best suited to it.

  • Marcia

    Mostly to Christy who said she couldn’t get good lamb in the states. When I lived in the U.K., I used to get lamb neck filet, which is absolutely the best cut to use I’ve found, besides being the right width to cut into kebabs.

    Just FYI.

  • kat

    yuuummm! :)

  • alistair


    adding my 2 cents to the other good comments:

    – do the veggies separately, yes.

    – yogurt and garlic (plus lemon juice) marinade very good, o/n yes.

    – quick marinade – some vietnamese garlic chili sauce (tuong ot toi), lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper – 4 hrs.

    – longer marinade, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, salt pepper, o/n

    – do buy a half leg of NZ lamb (almost universal, sometime i get lucky and use some amazing local lamb) and cut up. The various muscle groups can be separated too making “choice brochettes” for the lucky

    – on the weber charcoal grill – do over hot coals pushed to one half of grill allowing you to move brochettes to cooler region if needed, use cover (vents open), can use agressive heat, use cover to control flare ups, allow lamb to rest after.

    – all above applies to butterflied leg of lamb, the uneven nature of that coupled with the various muscle groups makes for a variety of “doneness” suiting all the guests – approx 25 minutes to cook to 125-128 F in middle of thickest part.

    – flat bladed skeweres work best, meat less likely to rotate around skewer.


    Look for, ask for, local grass fed natural lamb.
    I have had good luck marinading small pieces of meat in a strongly lemony marinade 24 hours before cooking “en brochette.” The acidity pre-cooks the meat enough that it “catches up” with the veggies if not cooked too hot. Mutton is delicious this way.

  • Susan Jones

    I just tried this recipe last night…it was delicious! What I like is that it doesn’t feel like too much meat – just enough to satisfy. There was almost a garlicky taste although I added no garlic – will make it again!
    I uses a butterflied leg of lamb and it was fine.

  • Richard Jonassen

    Our friend is from London and keeps speaking of lamb neck filet. We raise lambs but do not know what cut this is. HELP.

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