I have been searching for a good kibbee recipe for a while. I lie. Actually I would prefer to have a plane ticket to the Levant to try a homemade version made with love by a random grandma. Sigh. And so I perused cookbook after cookbook looking for a recipe that would be easy enough for a novice like me to do, and tasty enough to make me feel like I was relaxing by the Eastern Mediterranean. Lo and behold I found a recipe in my Grandma's collection. Was Grandma Harvey secretly wishing to travel the world too? Maybe! Perhaps this is the source of my wanderlust!
This makes a huge batch of kibbee - a full 9x14 pan. Next time, I am planning on dividing the recipe by half and hopefully getting something around 9x9.
2 cups #1 fine bulgur
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 pound pine nuts
2 1/2 pounds ground lamb (or mixture of ground lamb and beef)
fresh ground pepper
pinch mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup corn oil
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cover bulgur wheat with hot water and soak for about 15-20 minutes. While bulgur is soaking, saute onions with one stick of butter in a skillet until onions are soft. Remove onions and set aside. In same skillet, brown pine nuts until golden brown and set aside with onions. Brown 1/2 pound of the ground lamb until cooked through, and then add to the onion and pine nut mixture. This is your filling. Season with salt and pepper and allow filling to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine remaining meat and bulgur wheat. Using hands, mix to combine. You can also run through a food processor using ice water to keep the meat-wheat mixture cold. Add salt, pepper mint and ground cloves to the mixture. Knead well until all of the seasonings are incorporated into the mixture.
Butter a large pan (13 x 9 or larger) with generous amount of softened butter. Divide the meat/wheat mixture in half, and cover the bottom of the pan with one portion of the meat - adding in small patties and pressing together to a 1/2 inch thick solid layer. Smooth the surface with hands dipped in cold water. Add filling layer and spread evenly. Take the remaining half of the meat/wheat mixture and cover the filling, using small patties of meat until the entire surface is covered in a 1/2 inch layer. Smooth and press together using hands dipped in cold water.
Using a sharp knife, cut around the sides of the pan, and then cut the kibbee into diamond shapes about 1 1/2 inches wide. Take your finger (dipped in cold water) and poke in the center of each diamond. Pour evenly with corn oil over the top of the meat and let the oil soak into the divisions. Bake for about 1 hour. Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes and remove from the pan and serve. Drizzle the hole with extra virgin olive oil and serve with pita bread and a salad of fresh cucumbers and yogurt. It's also delicious served cold the next day.
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