El Baboor Lamb Kebab
Hussam and Nashat Abbas, El Baboor restaurant, Um-El-Fahem (Israel)
The inspiration for this dish is Syrian kebab halabi, grilled and then baked in a spicy tomato sauce. Hussam and Nashat introduced a few delicious changes: grilled tomatoes and onions for the sauce and a disk of pita dough to seal the baking dish. In the following home version, use pita or laffa bread to seal the dish and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) fresh lamb (shoulder or thigh, with the fat), chopped with a knife or ground coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot green pepper, chopped finely
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon baharat spice mix
4-5 large ripe tomatoes
2 onions, quartered
1-2 large Iraqi (laffas) or regular pitas
Mix the meat with half the hot pepper and garlic, season with baharat and salt and shape into oval kebabs.
Roast the tomatoes over an open flame or on a charcoal grill. Peel and chop coarsely. Season with the rest of the garlic and hot pepper.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Skewer the kebabs, alternating them with onion quarters. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side until the kebabs are half-done.
Remove the kebabs and onions from the skewers and transfer to a deep baking dish or ovenproof earthenware plate together with the roasted tomatoes. Cover the dish with a pita, wrap with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Variation: To prepare the dish as it is served in the restaurant, follow the recipe for pita dough but do not bake it. Roll out the dough to a disk large enough to seal the top and sides of the baking dish. Sprinkle with sesame and/or nigella seeds and bake as instructed.
photo: Eilon Paz ("The Book of New Israeli Food")