Magic in the Kitchen: Kibbeh

A popular dish in the Middle East, kibbeh can be prepared in a variety of ways, and recipes will differ from one country to another, or even from one family to the next. The kibbeh recipe we’re using here is of Lebanese origin, and we’re certain that you and your family will enjoy it. Kibbeh can be prepared as a side dish or even as the main dish, with yogurt, hummus, or a green salad on the side. Feel free to experiment with other side dishes to serve along with kibbeh and find out what you and your family enjoy best.

Outer Shell Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 teaspoons ground cumin



Stuffing Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup of lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Vegetable oil for frying


Directions:

• Start by preparing the outer shells: submerge your bulgur wheat in water for 20 minutes before draining in a strainer and pressing it to get rid of extra liquid.
• In a separate bowl, mix your beef, onions, pepper, cumin and salt into a paste, then add the strained bulgur wheat. Make sure to mix well. 
• Place the mixture in batches into a food processor and process again until you get a smooth, dough-like end product. You can add a small amount of ice water if you need to. This will enable you to shape the shells easily. 
• Prepare the stuffing by cooking the meat in a large skillet, stirring it frequently over a medium fire until it turns brown in color. This should take you about 4 minutes. 
• Add the onions, cinnamon, pepper, allspice and salt onto the meat and stir until tender. This should also take approximately 4 minutes. Once you feel the mixture is ready, remove from the stove and add in the pine nuts. 
• Once the stuffing is cool enough to handle, wet your hands, shape the meat-bulgur mix into egg-sized balls, and make a hole in the center of each ball with your finger to shape it into a cup pointed at the bottom end. 
• Once this is done, stuff each ball with approximately 1 tablespoon of stuffing, then pinch the top of the shell to enclose the filling. Reshape the shell into a smooth egg shape with a pointed top. Make sure to wet your hands frequently to stop the meat from sticking to your hands. 
• Preheat the oil to 180°C, then add the kibbeh balls in batches into the hot oil and cook until they become golden brown and the meat inside is cooked through. This should take 4-5 minutes. 
• When you scoop the kibbeh balls out of the oil, place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. You can serve the kibbeh hot or at room temperature.