Kibbeh are little bulgur meat pies.
It is a great Middle Eastern favorite; it seems everyone has adopted it as the darling ethnic dish.
Traditionally, kibbeh are torpedo-shaped; the trademark oblong shape is indeniably adorable; flatten a piece of dough in your hand, place a little filling, then enclose the dough around the filling, and pinch the ends into points. Repeat. Fry.
By contrast, baked kibbeh is assembled like a shepherd pie (Dough, filling, dough), then cut in wedges.
Good Sephardi that I am, I love Kibbeh, but I am not so fond of labor intensive dishes. And I go to any length not to fry. So I make it the lazy and no less delicious way: Baked, and cut in diamond shapes.
I make one giant baked Kibbeh pie:
This suits me much better than a dozen or two fried tiny ones: I and my guests will enjoy it more often. And of course, so will you and yours. Maybe not as cute or as dramatic, but who cares, if it is every bit as delicious, simpler and healthier? Not only that: you can warm it up much more easily with no fear of drying, even for a shabbos lunch (the finished dish has no liquids).
The kibbeh dough is unique, in that it is bulgur-based and contains meat, which makes the finished dish a double treat, bursting with all its wonderful lineup of Middle Eastern flavors.
Ground Lamb is the best!
Even though you could use any meat, I find lamb the best choice for making kibbeh.
Serve it alone or with a tehina sauce (simply mix some tehina and water with a fork until smooth, and add a little salt and pepper and lemon juice)
- 1 cup fine bulgur wheat
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 small onion
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Dash cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste (very easy on the salt, you might not need any)
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts, optional
- 1 pound ground lamb meat
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 1 large bunch flat parsley
- 1 large bunch mint, leaves only
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 2 pounds ground lamb meat
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the dough:
Mix the bulgur with the water in a stainless steel or glass bowl, and cover tightly so as not to let any steam escape. Let the mixture rest about 15 minutes, and fluff it with two forks. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add all ingredients except the meat, and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in the meat.
Make the filling:
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, garlic, parsley, mint and cilantro. Add the mixture to the oil, and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the lamb and cook 2-3 more minutes, breaking up the lamb as you go to make sure it gets evenly browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook 2-3 more minutes.
Assemble the Kibbeh:
Spray a 10- or 11-inch round mold with sides (be sure not to use a mold with a detachable bottom) with vegetable spray. Press half the dough firmly onto the bottom of the mold. Top with the filling, patting firmly. Top with the remaining dough.
Bake the Kibbeh about 30 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Makes 8 servings