I used to wonder why people found weeknight meals so taxing – just cook something!
Then I had a kid. Sorry, parents. Dinner, like many other aspects of parenting, has been a total cluster…. you know. Learning how to manage a newborn baby who needs to be attached to you while you cook, an infant that needs you to be clapping or singing to them while you prep ingredients, or a toddler who basically needs every ounce of your attention while you’re trying to grocery shop, unload, organize, prep and cook a meal that will fuel all their insanity and still be delicious to you and your partner is…well, a challenge.
Something that I find extremely helpful is having a few homemade spice blends on hand to jazz up even the most mundane of ingredients. I make Ras El Hanout, Za’atar, Garam Masala, cajun seasoning, Chinese five spice and Turkish-style Baharat regularly so when all I have is potatoes and veggies, at least I know they’ll be DAMN GOOD potatoes and veggies. They make everything better – from boring brown rice to a pound of lamb you found hanging in the back of the freezer.
Today I wanted to talk about Baharat, which translates to “spice” in Arabic. There are many varieties of Baharat, but today we’re talking about the Turkish style blend, which is differentiated by the addition of dried mint (which I think makes it SO MUCH BETTER). It’s warm and fragrant and makes simple fish or chicken into an experience. Sprinkle it over roasted potatoes, stir into yogurt and top with some spicy oil to dunk crackers or toasted flatbread into, sprinkle over roasted chickpeas or or toss with your vegetables before roasting. The uses are endless and you’ll always end up with a meal greater than the sum of it’s parts.
These Baharat Lamb Flatbreads with Goat Milk Yogurt and Mint come together in a little over 30 minutes. The lamb cooks up quick and is juicy, savory and buttery and the super creamy Goat Milk Yogurt from Hewitt’s Dairy cuts through all the spice and cools the mouth while the mint, fennel fronds and crunchy cucumber brighten everything up. It’s the perfect dish for those who like to add a little of this, a little of that when they’re eating.
Baharat Lamb Flatbreads with Goat Milk Yogurt and Mint
makes 4 flatbreads
1 lb lean ground lamb
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp Baharat spice blend, recipe follows
sea salt, to taste
4 small or 1 large flatbread (naan, lavash, pizza dough)
1 cup Hewitt’s Dairy Goat Milk Yogurt
fennel fronds, to garnish (optional)
fresh mint leaves, to garnish
red pepper flake, to garnish
Lebanese cucumbers, to garnish
Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a heavy skillet over med-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, until no longer pink, approximately 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, garlic, baharat and a few pinches of salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
If you have one, put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450. If you don’t have one, preheat the oven to 450 and you can place the flatbreads right on the rack. Lay out your flatbreads and rub with a little olive oil and baharat. Divide the lamb mixture evenly among the flatbreads and top each with a few spoonfuls of goat yogurt. Place on the pizza stone or directly on the rack for about 5 minutes or until everything is golden and sizzling. Remove from oven and top with mint, fennel fronds (if using), red pepper flake to taste and a few sliced cucumbers to cool everything down. Serve as a light appetizer for a crowd or with a simple salad to make this a meal.
makes 1/2 cup
2 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp green cardamom pods*
1 tsp whole cloves
2 tbsp dried mint
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp (hot or sweet) paprika
*I leave the papery pods on when I make this mix. It doesn’t change the flavour or texture. If you prefer not, just smash the pods, remove the shells and fish out the seeds for your spice blend.
Disclaimer: I am part of the #BornOnTheFarm Campaign sponsored by Gaylea Food Coop & PTPA Media and receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. Regardless, I only work with brands I use personally and enjoy.