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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Baharat Spiced Lamb Meatballs

This is one of those mixes that I really wanted to get my hands on. The ingredients are ones that I already have in my spice drawer: Black Pepper, Paprika, Clove, Cumin, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Red Pepper. However, I've never quite been able to get the ratios right to get the flavor of Baharat at home.

For anyone who grew up in the Middle East or loves the food of the region, one sniff of Baharat from Bazaar Spices in Union Market (Washington, DC) will take you back to your favorite Middle Eastern trip, restaurant, or dish.  The blend of spices highlight warmth, earthiness and that perfect mix of sweet and savory.

I thought I would go super Middle Eastern on this one to really highlight this spice mix at it's best. That means lamb. I adore lamb. I know people who think they don't like lamb. To those people, I say, try lamb meatballs. They don't have the sinewy quality that lamb chops can sometimes have and because lamb is a naturally fatty, the meatballs are super moist.  I do add a little cinnamon to the meatballs as well to bring out just a little more sweetness, which pairs really well with lamb.

These meatballs are cooked in the oven, so you don't have to add any additional oil or worry about messy splattering or frying.  They make an awesome appetizer for a cocktail party. You can even make the mix in advance, store in the fridge and then stick them in the oven and mingle with your guests while they cook.

Lamb Meatballs with Baharat Spice Mix:

1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons Baharat Spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, optional (mint, cilantro, parsley or a mix)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together. Form into small meatballs to make about 24.  Space them evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve them right away, garnished with fresh mint or parsley.

For an extra shot of Baharat, serve them with a dip of greek yogurt with a teaspoon of Baharat, a little salt and freshly chopped mint.


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