Lamb and Artichoke Spiedini with Oregano Polenta
1 1/4 lb. (625 g.) boneless lamb leg steaks, trimmed of excess fat and gristle and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm.) cubes
1 lb. (500 g.) thawed frozen artichoke hearts
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges for serving
For the oregano polenta:
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
Whole milk as needed
Reduced-sodium chicken broth as needed
1 box (9 oz./280 g.) instant polenta
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
In a bowl, combine the lamb, artichokes, lemon zest and juice, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic and oregano. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and season with pepper. Toss to combine and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Toss the mixture occasionally. If using bamboo skewers, soak 14 skewers in water for 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, to prepare the polenta, heat a small amount of oil in a heave saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic, and before it has a chance to scorch, stir in the oregano and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add a mixture of half milk and half broth in place of the quantity of water called for in the recipe on the polenta box. Bring to a boil and cook the polenta according to the package instructions. Just before the polenta is done, stir in the Parmesan and butter. Cover and hold in a warm place, or keep warm in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat grilling over medium-high heat, or preheat a large cast-iron stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat. Thread the ingredients onto each skewer in the following order: 1 artichoke heart, 2 lamb pieces, 1 artichoke heart, 2 lamb pieces, and 1 artichoke heart. Position them close to the pointed end of the skewer, and press the lamb pieces snugly together. Wrap about 2 inches (5 cm.) of the blunt end of each skewer with aluminum foil to make a handle.
Place the skewers on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire or in the grill pan, and cook until browned, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned and just firm to the touch, 2-3 minutes more.
Remove the foil from the skewers and arrange on a warmed platter. Season with salt and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve at once with the hot polenta. Serves 4-6.