Kefta bil Sayniyeh (Spiced Lamb Patties with Tomato and Onion)
Lebanese seven-spice powder—a mix of allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, and nutmeg known as baharat—flavors the lamb patties as well as the tomatoes in this richly spiced dish from Lebanese chef Fouad Kassab’s mother, Isabelle. She makes the dish with fragrant oil from the family’s olive groves; for our favorite Lebanese olive oils available in the U.S., see Green Gold. This recipe first appeared in our October 2014 issue with the story Home for the Harvest.
- 2 lb. ground lamb
- 1⁄2 cup minced parsley
- 1⁄3 cup flour
- 2 tsp. dried mint
- 2 tsp. Lebanese seven-spice powder
- 6 cloves garlic (2 minced, 4 thinly sliced)
- 1 1⁄2 large white onions (1/2 grated, 1 sliced 1/2″ thick)
- 1 egg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 canned whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4″ thick
- Mix lamb, parsley, flour, mint, 1 tsp. spice powder, the minced garlic, grated onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Divide into twenty-seven 1 1⁄2-oz. balls; form into 2″ logs. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in an ovenproof 12″ skillet over medium-high. Cook logs, turning as needed, until browned, 4–6 minutes; transfer to a plate.
- Heat oven to 400°. Add remaining oil to skillet; cook sliced garlic and onion until golden, 4–6 minutes. Add remaining seven-spice powder and the tomato paste; cook 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, salt, and pepper; cook until slightly thickened, 3–4 minutes. Stir in reserved lamb logs; top with sliced tomatoes. Bake until tomatoes are slightly dry, 30–35 minutes.