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Cherries and Barbecued Meat – They’re Hard to Beat!

posted on: May 15, 2024

Meatball. Source: http://wikimedia commons

By: Habeeb Salloum M.S.M. / Arab America Contributing Writer

Throughout the world, there are thousands of recipes for barbecuing meat.  In Aleppo, Syria where one of the top cuisines in the Middle East has been developed, there are dozens of ways of preparing meats to be cooked over a fire.   The numerous ancient civilizations that called Aleppo home, the city’s location at the end of the famous Silk Road, and the many conquerors who passed through, all left their mark on the food of the city.

In Aleppo, a special kind of bitter-black cherry, only found around this metropolis, is used when preparing this dish.  However, because it is not easily available in Canada, I have substituted the Aleppo cherry with cherries that are found here.

This recipe, where meat meets cherry, makes for a delightful delicious taste that’s hard to beat.                                                                                                                                                  

Barbecued Meat Balls with Cherries – Kufta Bi-l Karaz

Serves about 4

1 pound finely ground lean lamb

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

large fresh pitted jumbo bing cherries, or canned or candied cherries

Place all ingredients except cherries in a food processor, then process for a minute.  Form into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, wetting hands to keep meat from sticking.  Place tight on skewers: one ball; and one cherry, then press by hand on skewers to elongate.  Barbecue until meat is done – from 5 to 10 minutes.  

Serve hot with rice or scoop up with Arab bread.

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