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! 

Ingredients

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
Olive oil
Pinch cinnamon, cardamom, all spice
Salt

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)

Directions

To make your stuffing:
  1. In a pan, saute the onion in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the minced meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, then, as it browns, season with salt and spices.
  3. 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:
  1. Soak the bulgur wheat in cold water for an hour (but no longer).
  2. Drain the water off and place the bulgur into a sieve and leave it to drain for 15 minutes.
  3. 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:
  1. Get a bowl of water and wet your hands.
  2. Take a bit more than an egg-sized chunk of shell mix and roll into a firm ball.
  3. Make a hole in the centre with your finger and work it into an elongated cavity.
  4. Place your thumb in the cavity and using your fingers pinch the walls of the shell to make them as thin as possible.
  5. Fill this with the stuffing and, keeping your hands moist, pinch closed and shape into a rough lemon shape.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  7. Heat the oil and check it’s up to temperature by dropping a bit of mix in and checking it fizzles to the surface.
  8. 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.
  9. Sit the kibbeh on a paper towels to drain excess oil.
  10. Serve kibbeh with wedges of lemon and a side salad.