As I said in the last post, JJ and I went to Mandaloun last weekend, my favorite Lebanese restaurant. We first learned about Mandaloun when they signed up to host a Bite Club event when I was the host. We had such an amazing meal there, when Mandaloun offered a Groupon a few weeks later, I jumped right on it. When we ordered, I went with the Vegetarian Mezze because I knew it was delicious, but JJ opted for something new. He chose the Chicken Schwarma, which was much different than most versions. The chicken was cooked in a cumin and cinnamon laced sauce with pieces of plump apricot. I tasted a bit of the sauce and apricot drenched pita, and it was so delicious. I love cinnamon in savory dishes, but rarely use it myself.
Later in the week, I couldn't get the flavors out of my head, so I decided to make it into a vegetarian dish. I thought about just subbing chickpeas for the chicken, but instead made a patty that could be stuffed in a pita and served with the tabbouli. The patties are a simple mixture, full of flavor and spice. The apricots get so plump and juicy, and the greek yogurt adds a nice tang.
Spiced Apricot Chickpea Patties
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. diced dried apricots
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 egg white
1/4-1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
Add chickpeas to a large mixing bowl.
Using a potato masher, mash the chickpeas until about half are pasty and half are broken into pieces.
Add apricots, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, salt, pepper and scallions.
In a small dish, whip egg white to a froth, add to chickpea mixture.
Using a spatula, begin folding ingredients together, adding breadcrumbs as necessary to hold mixture together.
Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
Add a thin layer of olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Score chickpea mixture into fourths, form 4 patties and drop into the skillet.
Cook for 5-7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes, until browned.
Serve with pitas, yogurt and tabbouli.