You’ve gotta love it when an idea comes together. It’s even better when it’s an idea so simple that it seems crazy that no one has already thought of it.
I once read the following formula:
Modern Art = I could have done that + Yeah, but you didn’t
I’m not saying I’m a modern culinary artist in any way, but there’s a pleasure I find in invention, and I sense joy when I manage to create something new, simple and delicious.
This is my version of kibbeh, and to be honest, it’s bloody awesome. Kibbeh is a family of dishes considered as Lebanon’s national culinary emblem where the common factor is that burghul, spices and onions are mixed with a binding agent. This binding agent could be anything but most commonly you’d see minced lamb or goat, pumpkin or lentils.
The two most famous incarnations of kibbeh are nayyeh and kbeb (or mikliyyeh). Nayyeh is the raw version, a silken beauty doused with olive oil and eaten with loads of fresh mint and raw onions. Kbeb are the torpedo shaped kibbeh, hollow but filled with fried mince, onions and pine nuts and then deep-fried. Imagine how good that tastes.
My kibbeh is derived from the latter, and it simply aims to bring out the best aspects of the kbeb: a crisp exterior, a generous filling of the sweetest, star anise caramelised onions and an abundance of fried pine nuts. It’s kibbeh on steroids, with all the flavours amplified ten-fold. This goes down on my list of top 10 favourites. You’ve got to try it!
- 0.5 kilo finely minced lamb, beef or goat meat (twice minced)
- 180 grams fine burghul
- 1 pureed or finely grated onion
- 2 tsp finely ground black pepper
- salt – use your judgement
- 6 large onions, sliced
- 4 star anise, in a muslin bag
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup fried pine nuts
- In a frying pan, add all the filling ingredients except pine nuts and caramalise on a low heat. It will take around 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and make sure the onions don’t burn
- Remove from heat and add pine nuts
- Mix all the shell ingredients
- Flatten some of the shell mix between your palms until it’s evenly thin
- Use a cup you like the shape of and line it with the meat.
- Use the method outlined in the photo below (from my pumpkin kibbeh post) for a fully manual kibbeh experience, or rill the meat with filling and cover the bottom with another piece of flattened shell, ensuring the bottom adheres to the rest of the kibbeh.
- Deep fry until golden