Growing Chefs! Ontario Shish Barak

Shish Barak

Shish Barak is a delicious lamb or beef filled dumpling with a sumptuous spiced yogurt sauce, dotted with toasted pine nuts. Our chefs were first introduced to this delicious dish during our cooking classes with Syrian newcomer youth
Serves 4-6

For the filling

1 pound ground lamb1 clove garlic, finely minced1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1 tablespoon harissa2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro salt to taste

For the dough & dressing

1 cup all-purpose flour1 pinch salt1 tablespoon olive oil3/4 cup hot water4 tablespoons butter1 teaspoon dried mint1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, optional1 cup labneh1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Baking sheet with parchment paperKnife or safe chopperPotato ricer, food mill, or potato masherMeasuring cupsBench scraperMedium frying panWhiskForkLarge potBowls of various sizesDish towel

Get Organized!

Gather your mise en place; get together all of the equipment needed for the recipe and gather your ingredients.

Get Prepped!

Finely chop the garlic, or alternatively mince it with a rasp to finely grate it.

Remove all of the leaves from the stem of the cilantro, and chop the leaves finely.

Measure out the lamb and add the cumin, garlic, harissa, cilantro, garlic and salt to taste. Mix together well. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

To make the dough, place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the salt, olive oil, and water into the well. Using a fork, beat the flour into the dough, switching to kneading with your hands once the dough thickens. Knead the dough on a smooth surface until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest about 20 minutes.

To make the dumplings, roll 14 of the dough out on a flat surface. Roll out to about 2 mm thin, then cut into circles using a ravioli stamp or biscuit cutter. Place a small ball of lamb filling in the center of the dough and fold into a crescent moon shape pinching hard all around the edge to seal. Pinch together the two tips and place on a lightly-floured sheet tray or flat plate.

Get Cooking!

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

In a nearby skillet, melt the butter with the dried mint and Aleppo pepper, if using. When the water boils, fill a large serving bowl with a ladleful of the cooking water to warm the bowl. Swish the water around and dump all but about 14 cup.

Whisk the yogurt in the water, thinning it out and warming it. Boil the dumplings in the water; once they float to the top, let them bob for 3 to 4 minutes (check one for doneness), then place them in the warm bowl with the yogurt.

Swirl to coat and then drizzle the butter all over and sprinkle the pine nuts on top. Serve and eat immediately