By : Danya Weiner
It’s the afternoon, and I’m at home with three adults and five children. The kids are outside playing in the blow up pool (so small I call it a puddle), in diapers and having a blast. My first instinct is to finally sit down and relax, drink some coffee and chat with the adults, after a long day of work. Slowly I begin to realize that it is almost dinner time, and I, although did not plan to, am in charge of providing food for my spontaneous guests.
Within a few minutes I already had a game plan. My first thought was to make quick cornbread which would definitely satisfy the children’s hunger until dinner would be ready. For dinner I decided to take out some ground beef from the freezer and put some rice on the stove.
With the cornbread in the oven, I quickly run a mop over the kitchen floor before someone slips, grab a sip of coffee with the adults and then get back in the kitchen. I start chopping garlic, not really knowing where this recipe is leading me to. I don’t have the patience to grill meat patties and not the time for stuffed peppers. On a whim, I decide to simply sauté the ground beef with some good spices and that’s it. Kids don’t like onions and herbs, but this recipe definitely needed both. So I prepared the beef with Baharat, a mix spice blend which typically includes allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin seeds and paprika. For the adults, once the meat was cooked, I added thinly sliced red onion and fresh mint leaves. The crispiness and freshness of the onion and mint leaves, respectively, added so much to the dish.
The kids were more than satisfied with plain beef and rice, just the way they like it (unfortunately), as were the grown-ups.
You can find baharat at any middle-eastern specialty market. If you can’t find it, use a mix of the spices listed above or even just cinnamon and cumin (as listed in the recipe), will suffice.
Ingredients for 5 servings:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound (500 grams) ground beef
½ teaspoon baharat, or ¼ teaspoon cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch, fresh mint leaves
-For a thai style dish, add a fried egg over the beef. The runny yolk works amazing with ground meat!