baharat, the spice
Baharat means "spice" in Arabic, and is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It's a wonderful blend of spices (see recipe below to try it for yourself) that can often be difficult to find in grocery stores throughout the Americas. The blend varies from region to region, but typically contains black peppercorns, allspice, cloves, coriander, paprika, nutmeg, and cumin. A little goes a long way - if you are one to experiment, less is more in this case.
You'll find this spice blend in a variety of traditional eats like kebbeh (see below for recipe as well), sambusak, chicken skewers, or really any type of meat or rice pilaf. It's also used in marinades, pastes, soups, and sauces to add an extra smoky, sweet depth to flavor.
-modified from the featured cookbook club of the month, Together: Our Community Cookbook
Makes roughly 1/4 cup
1 tbsp cinnamon, ground
1 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 tsp cardamom, ground
Combine all spices and mix until well combined. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Lebanese in origin, kebbeh is more commonly a meat dish with ground lamb or beef mixed with bulgur and spices. It can be shaped, stuffed, fried, poached, baked, or eaten raw. Typically, it's accompanied by many other foods as part of a maza, an array of Middle Eastern appetizers.
Inspired by these flavors and looking to warm up a particularly cold Minnesota evening, I originally made the kebbeh as a side for dinner. Delicious. The following morning, I decided to try something a little different: Top it with an egg and serve with a side salad for breakfast. And, due to only having one egg in the house for two people (my boyfriend Adrian was hungry as well - aren't they always? ?), I substituted Greek yogurt for another version.
Both were exceptional choices, but if you're pro egg, then go with the sunny side egg. The rich yolky center seeps into the kebbeh and melds beautifully.
And now, the recipe:
potato kebbeh (vegetarian version)
Serves 8 slices
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 shallot, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp baharat (see above recipe)
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for the pan)
Preheat oven to 425F
1. Put the potatoes in a large pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes with plenty of salt.
2. Soak the bulgur in cold water for 10 minutes, drain well (squeeze out moisture), and set aside.
3. Oil a 9" pie pan and set aside.
4. When potatoes are finished cooking, pass through a ricer in a mixing bowl. Combine bulgur, shallot, paprika, baharat, and flour.
5. Press mixture into prepared pan. Score into 8 servings and make a 1/2 inch hole in the center. Fill with olive oil and drizzle remaining on top.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Serve with an egg (or Greek yogurt) and a side salad. I kept the salad simple: shaved radicchio, orange segments, blackberries, and purple radish slices in a red wine vinaigrette.
Hungry for more? Check out my latest post on citrus to add a little extra flair to winter.