Spiced Lamb in Orange Scented Honey Phyllo

By • March 10, 2015 2 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm a huge fan of any sort of spiced, fruited meat dish- or "sweet meat" as my husband calls it. I often have ground lamb in the freezer, at the ready for a meatball, a bolognese or an african meatloaf dish I love that has a custard baked on top. But with honey on the brain, I immediately thought of the incredible Moroccan and Middle Eastern meals I have had with orange scented honey glazes, almonds in cinnamon and sugar and crispy, delicate phyllo.

I began by toasting and grinding some spices which were blended into the lamb with onions, garlic, ginger and tangerine peel. As I pondered the assembly and how to introduce the honey, I decided I wanted it to be layered inside the phyllo with the almonds, so you would get a hint of it with every bite. I hoped it might stay separate somehow but still all come together.

And boy, I was not disappointed. All those layers of crispy dough and honey butter formed a perfect shell of sweet without being overbearing. And the texture had just a slight bit of chew along with the crisp which transformed these simple lamb triangles into a true treat. The orange really comes through and is a perfect compliment to the lamb. Lamb candy! Next to the bisteeya (the only other recipe I tend to make with piles of phyllo) this is my favorite new combination. It is great as an appetizer, but would pair nicely with a salad for a full meal.

I certainly wish I had a better photo (it's sort of a cross between chicken wings and bad recipe photos from the magazines in the 70s), but the flavor is better even than I had hoped.


Makes 12

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tangerines, zested, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Heat oven to 375º. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and toast almonds until golden. Set aside. Toast cinnamon, cumin, coriander and anise in the pan for a minute or two. Add aleppo and cook another 30 seconds or until fragrant (be careful as it can burn quickly). Add to spice grinder, cool and grind to a powder.
  2. Add 1 T oil to the pan and sauté onions with a pinch of salt until beginning to brown. Add garlic, 1 t tangerine zest, and ginger and cook another couple minutes. Remove to a bowl and add lamb to pan. Break up any clumps and cook until no longer pink. Drain off fat, season with 1/2 t salt. Add back onions, spice mixture and 2 T tangerine juice and cook a few more minutes until almost no liquid remains. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix honey, 2 T butter and 3 T tangerine juice. Heat in a saucepan or microwave for about 25-30 seconds to melt honey and mix well. Put two phyllo sheets on a cutting board. Brush with about 1/6 the honey butter mixture and sprinkle with 1/3 of the almonds and a slight sprinkle of salt. Place two phyllo sheets on top and brush on another 1/6 of the honey butter. Cut phyllo with a pizza cutter or knife (perpendicular to the long side) in half and half again so you have 4, 3" strips.
  4. Place about 3 T of the lamb mixture at the bottom of a strip and carefully fold up one corner to form a triangle. Fold the triangle up, then over, then up as though folding a flag. Repeat with remaining three strips, then repeat with two more batches so you have 12 triangles. Brush lightly with one more coat of honey butter. Brush remaining 1 T oil on a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until very golden.
  5. I loved these as is, but they would also be good with a spiced yoghurt dip- perhaps a mix of sriracha and sour cream/yoghurt or more aleppo pepper.

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