IJEH B’LAHMEH Herb and Meat Latkes (Syrian)

Makes 15 to 20 pancakes

From “Jewish Soul Food” by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2014 by Janna Gur. Excerpted by permission of Schocken Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

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4 eggs 1 large onion, roughly chopped

About 2 tablespoons matzah meal or bread crumbs

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1/2 bunch fresh mint 3 to 4 scallions (white and green parts)

10 ounces (300 g) ground beef, or a lamb and beef mixture

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)

Vegetable oil for frying

To serve (optional):

Pita, bread rolls, or ciabatta

Olive oil

Slices of red onion

Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro

Tomato slices

Tahini spread

Directions:

1. Prepare the pancakes: Put the eggs, onion, matzah meal or bread crumbs, parsley, cilantro, mint and scallions in a food processor. Pulse until the herbs are chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and pine nuts (if using) and mix thoroughly.

3. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan. With a large spoon, ladle in pancakes 3 inches wide and fry over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until deep golden. Be careful not to crowd the pan (work in batches). Remove to paper towels to drain.

4. To serve: If desired, brush the pita with olive oil and toast in a hot pan or oven. Arrange the pancakes on the bread (it will absorb the flavorful juices) and top with red onion, herbs, tomato and tahini spread. If not serving at once, store the pancakes in the refrigerator — they are delicious cold or at room temperature in a sandwich or as a light snack.

Variation for a vegetarian version:

Skip the meat. Increase the amount of matzah meal or bread crumbs to 5 tablespoons. You might also want to add 1 to 2 chopped and slowly sauteed onions for extra flavor.

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