Recipe of the Week: Kibbeh

It’s that time again!  This week is a special week because the dish I’m making will be attempted in honor of my dad’s birthday. My baba turns an undisclosed age next Monday and I thought it would be fun to make him one of his favorite dishes to celebrate. His request was Kibbeh (baked, not fried) with a simple tomato, cucumber and onion salad as a side. Kibbeh is also great with laban (yogurt), but I don’t have the laban starter I need to make it this time around. A great substitute for laban (assuming you don’t just run to a specialty store to by some already made) is plain yogurt.

Kibbeh is meat. Exciting, right? There are a few ways you can make Kibbeh; the most recognizable being the lovely fried, football-shaped version.  It’s meat wrapped in more meat and then fried – winning combination right there. It’s also really hard to make correctly, so I’m going for the simpler version, and the one my pop’s prefers, baked kibbeh.

Here’s a rough estimation of the recipe I have:

You need to make two different batches of the meat. I think I’m going to use a ground lamb/beef combination.

The Base Kibbeh (not a technical term, just the one I’m using):

2 lbs. lamb or beef (I’ll be using beef)

Chopped onion

3 cups burghul ( I am sure there is some debate as to which texture of burghul to use. My mom didn’t say, but my dad mentioned medium or #2, so we’ll give that a try)

Salt and pepper

If this had been the 80’s and my mama was making this dish, she probably would have bought the meat whole and cut it up and ground it herself. I won’t be doing that. Obviously.

So, soak the burghul for about an hour and then squeeze it to make sure all the water is out. Mix the burghul with the meat until it rises a little bit and then add the onions and the spices. Place about half of the mixture in the bottom of the pan and smooth out evenly. Let sit for a bit before putting the cooked mixture on top.

Kibbeh Stuffing:

1 pound of ground lamb or beef ( for this I’ll use lamb)

Finely chopped onion

1/2 + pine nuts

2 tbsp. butter

Salt, allspice, cinnamon and pepper to taste

Another 1/2 ish of melted butter

Brown pine nuts in the butter on low heat until light brown.  Set aside and then cook the meat until brown. Add the onions and the spices and cook until everything is tender. Remove from fire and then add the pine nuts.

Wait until it cools a little and spread the stuffing on top of the raw kibbeh in the bottom of the round pan. Place the remaining raw kibbeh on top and smooth it out evenly. Then cut the dish into diamond wedges with a knife.  Pour melted butter evenly across the top and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes uncovered until perfectly brown.

This will be interesting! I hope I do this right, otherwise dad’s getting Taco Cabana as a consolation dinner. Wish me luck!!

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