In the Republic of Georgia, basturma is a sort of shish kebab (Elsewhere in the Near East, the term refers to spiced dried meat and is etymologically related to our word pastrami.) Georgians love the combination of fruit and meat with pomegranate juice as a common seasoning. If you can't find fresh pomegranates, use pomegranate syrup (sometimes called pomegranate molasses), which is sold in Middle East and Armenian markets. This recipe comes from my friend, Darra Goldstein, author of The Georgian Feast (Harper Collins).
Cut the lamb into 1½-inch cubes, trimming off excess fat or sinew. (Leave a little fat intact.)
Prepare the marinade. To juice a fresh pomegranate, cut it in half and press it on a citrus reamer. Strain juice into a large non-reactive bowl. Stir in the remaining marinade ingredients. Add the lamb and marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Thread lamb onto skewers and season with salt and pepper. Build the fire and let it die down to embers. Oil the grill. Rake a 1-inch layer of glowing coals beneath it. Generously season the kebabs with salt; grill, basting with any excess marinade, until the lamb is cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer the kebabs to a platter, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.
Your Basturma (Georgian Pomegranate Marinated Grilled Lamb) is ready. Buon appetito!
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