BERBERE KAFTA KEBABS
1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon Berbere spices (Or see recipe for BERBERE SPICE MIX)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ pounds ground beef
Wooden skewers (about 8 inches long. Size matters.)
Spice grinder (if you are making your own Berbere spice mix.)
Peel and dice onion. Put onion, Berbere spices, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, parsley, pepper, salt, and ground beef in mixing bowl. Indulge in gentle primal scream therapy as you mix everything together with your hands. Make meatballs about 1-inch across until mix is used up. Put meatballs in bowl and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Cook meatballs on electric skillet at 350 degrees. Turn just often enough to ensure meatballs are no longer pink on the inside and starting to brown on the outside. Vigilance is a must. (Tasting isn’t a bad idea either. However, if you taste every meatball before your fiancé arrives, then maybe the relationship wasn’t meant to be.)
Let the meatballs cool down enough so they don’t burn your fingers. Gently place 2 or 3 meatballs on each skewer. (It is possible to pierce your hand or finger with the sharp edge of the skewer. These are wooden skewers, you say, how sharp can they be? Okay, I probably couldn’t terrify an intruder armed with a gun, but I could give him an owie he’d never forget.)
Tastes great on its own or serve with lemon wedges and Moroccan yogurt sauce. (See recipe for this.)
1) In 711, Arab armies crossed over the Straits of Gibraltar and headed northward to the Frankish Kingdom bringing all sorts of Moroccan spices with them. It is hard to say exactly what spices, as most historians, especially military, are strangely mute on this point.
2) In 732, the Frankish leader defeated the Arabs at the battle of Tours ensuring the survival of French spices and cuisine.
3) Frankish and Arab armies marched back and forth in southern France until 915, making certain the fusion of French and Moroccan spices.
4) Culinary arts stagnated during centuries of peace between France and Morocco.
5) Fortunately, French power and imperialism came back in 1907 when Gallic armies occupied Casablanca. A new round of fighting and culinary exchange between the two great nations began.
6) Unfortunately for gourmands everywhere total peace broke out in 1956 with Moroccan independence.
7) For awhile, it seemed as if the tens of thousands of brave French and Moroccan warriors who died in the cause of culinary integration had fallen in vain.
8) But you can’t keep a good spicer down. Over the next few decades, Moroccans headed to France in search of jobs, bringing their spices with them. Now you can find good French and Moroccan restaurants all over the world. Life is good.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.