This unusual kebab comes from Aleppo, which is located on the former Silk Road, the ancient merchant route connecting China, Central Asia, and the Middle East. This might explain why recipes from Aleppo are somewhat more exciting and richer in spices than the recipes from other parts of Syria, and this is true of this dish. The cherries make it a seasonal dish, a true summer treat.
- In a large bowl, knead the ground lamb, onion, allspice, salt, and pepper with the palm of your hand until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to form meatballs from the mixture.
- While the mixture is in the refrigerator, heat a pot over medium heat and add the cherries, water, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft. Mash some of the cherries to release their juices and flavor.
- Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator.
- To test if it is well seasoned, brown a small amount, and then taste and add more salt, pepper, or spices to the remaining mixture as necessary. Form the remaining mixture into meatballs measuring ¾ inch (2 cm) in diameter.
- In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat and, working in batches if necessary, brown the meatballs for 2 minutes, turning regularly to sear evenly.
- Spoon the meatballs and their juices into the pot of cherry sauce. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dish with toasted pine nuts and chopped mint. Serve warm with flatbread.