Cherry Kebab: Braised Meatballs in Sour Cherry Sauce

by nasabeter
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Cherry Kebab is a specialty dish coming from Aleppo, a city located in Northern Syria. Although I’ve never had the chance to visit Aleppo, I was lucky enough to try this amazing meal in Syrian and Armenian restaurants. Why Armenian? because this dish is mostly popular among Armenian in Syria. I tried to surf the net to check whether this recipe was brought by Armenian refugees to Syria or whether it was originated from Aleppo, but google failed me! So in case you have any historic information about this dish, please do share them in the comments section. Anyhow, let’s agree for now that both cuisines claim it as a signature dish.

Why I like this recipe, other than cherries being one of my favorite fruits ever, is how that amazing tangy sweet sauce perfectly blends with tender kebab bites with cinnamon notes and crunchy nuts bringing everything perfectly together. If you never tried it, just imagine this meal as meatballs made with middle eastern spices cooked and braised in a sour cherry sauce then topped with toasted nuts. Besides the flavor, can you see how gorgeous it looks. It’s definitely a go to whenever I want to have an impressive dinner party.

Sour Cherry Sauce

The original recipe calls for sour cherries, you can use fresh, jarred or frozen. I did however once cooked it with sweet frozen cherries, because I couldn’t find any sour ones, and it turned out perfect. I just balanced the taste by adding 1 tbsp of lemon pepper seasoning.

In a saucepan, add 3 cups cherries with 2 cinammon sticks and 1 cup of water, then cook on medium heat for 20 mins. Discard the cinammon sticks, and choose some good looking cherries to be used for garnish. Transfer the remaining to a blender and puree until smooth.

Return to the same sauce pan, and sautee a small diced shallot with olive oil, salt and pepper until golden. Add the cherry sauce, 7 spices and lemon pepper seasoning. Stir well and let thicken on low heat for 10 mins.

Kebab / Meatballs making

If your butcher sells readily mixed kafta or kebab meat, that’s perfect you just need to form them into round shapes. If readily mixed is not available, simply mix 1.5 lb (750 g) ground beef or lamb (I use 50/50 mix) with 1 small puree onion, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 tsp seven spices, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Mix with your hands until well incorporated. Next form into medium sized balls. then cook them in a skillet with olive oil until browned from all sides. I usually start by 10 mins on medium high heat and then the next 10 mins on medium low heat. Once the meatballs are browned, add them over the cherry sauce and simmer for 15 mins on low heat.

Final Touches

To garnish the authentic way, cut some pita bread into triangles and use them to cover the serving dish then add the cherry kebab on top and garnish with parsley and toasted pine nuts. When making this recipe, I did not have any pine nuts in hand so I used silvered almonds which gives almost the same texture.

That’s it, a super tangy dish done super easily. If you are trying this recipe, please do share with me your feedback and tag me on Instagram @levantinemama .

Loads of Love!

Cherry Kebab: braised meatballs in sour cherry sauce

Cherry Kebab is a specialty dish coming from Aleppo, a city located in Northern Syria. Although I’ve never had the chance to… Dinner Dinner, Meatballs, Cherry Sauce, Sweet and Sour European Print This
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • For the Meat Balls:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1.5 lb (750 g) ground lamb meat⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 small puree onion⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 tsp seven spices⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Salt and pepper to taste⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • For the cherry sauce:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 3 cups sour pitted cherries⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 cup water⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 2 cinnamon sticks⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 chopped shallot⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 tbsp olive oil⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 tsp seven spices⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • For Garnish: Pita bread, toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.

Instructions

1- Mix the meatballs ingredients together and incorporate well. then form into medium sized balls. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2- Cook on medium high heat with olive oil for 10 mins. then turn heat to medium low and cook for another 10 mins until golden brown from all sides. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3- In a sauce pan, add the cherries, water and cinnamon sticks and cook for 20 mins on medium heat. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4- Discard the cinnamon sticks, choose some good looking cherries to be used for garnish keep aside.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5- Transfer the remaining to a blender and puree until smooth. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 6- Using the same saucepan, saute your diced shallots with olive oil, salt and pepper. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 7- Once golden, add the cherry sauce and add seven spices and lemon pepper seasoning. Stir well and let thicken on low heat for 10 mins.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 8- Add the meat balls and simmer for 15 mins on low heat.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 9- Serve hot on a peeked pita bread and garnish with pine nuts and parsley. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


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