One of my all time favorite cuisines, is Lebanese food. I first experienced kibbeh back in Colombia where my boyfriend’s mother prepared a meal from her native land. I was so taken by the dish that I have recreated it many times in the past decade. Unfortunately, I was unable to get her recipe (may she rest in peace, sigh…), but I do think this one comes pretty close. Thank you Sofia! XO, love you so much my dear mentor!
For the stuffing:
1/4 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground lamb
2 heaped tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly in dry pan
1 small, finely chopped onion
Pinch cinnamon, cardamom, all spice
For the shells:
1/2 lb bulgur wheat
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cumin
A litre of vegetable oil
zest of one orange (optional)
To make your stuffing:
- In a pan, saute the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
- Stir in the minced meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, then, as it browns, season with salt and spices.
- When the meat has browned all over, and most of its water has been cooked off turn off the heat and allow to cool.
To make the shells:
- Soak the bulgur wheat in cold water for an hour (but no longer).
- Drain the water off and place the bulgur into a sieve and leave it to drain for 15 minutes.
- Place the bulgur gradually to the food processor and pulse until smooth. (This will take time and you’ll have to scrape down the edges repeatedly)
To make your kibbeh:
- Get a bowl of water and wet your hands.
- Take a bit more than an egg-sized chunk of shell mix and roll into a firm ball.
- Make a hole in the centre with your finger and work it into an elongated cavity.
- Place your thumb in the cavity and using your fingers pinch the walls of the shell to make them as thin as possible.
- Fill this with the stuffing and, keeping your hands moist, pinch closed and shape into a rough lemon shape.
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
- Heat the oil and check it’s up to temperature by dropping a bit of mix in and checking it fizzles to the surface.
- Deep-fry in batches of four-six, depending on the size of your pan, for about five-eight minutes each or until deep golden brown.
- Sit the kibbeh on a paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Serve kibbeh with wedges of lemon and a side salad.