Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kibbeh, Kibbeh Here and Kibbeh, Kibbeh There

Here Kibbeh, There Kibbeh... Everywhere Kibbeh... I forgot how much Kibbeh my recipe makes. I have Kibbeh Krammed in every Knook and Kranney of my Kitchen!! (sigh) This is what happens when you don't make something for a looooooong time and are suddenly gripped by an overwhelming craving. I have made Kibbeh about 4 times, all 4 of which were over 9 years ago... Why so long? Well it's deep fried, and as a general rule, I try to avoid deep fried foods (Pay no attention the the Bacon Wrapped Corndogs behind the curtain).

What is this Kibbeh thing that I am rambling on about?

Kibbeh is a Mediterranean dish of extraordinary deliciousness. It is Lamb, wrapped ever so lovingly around MORE lamb... What could
possibly be better than Lamb wrapped in Lamb...? OK, there is Pig wrapped in Pig, but that is another dish, and another post (remind me, sometime, to blog about Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loins in Caper pan sauce).

Anyway, before I enter into a tangential discussion on the wonders of the all things Porcine, Kibbeh consists of two parts.

  • Ground Lamb mixed with Bulgur wheat to form a dough
  • Ground Lamb sautéed with onions, nuts and spices

sautéed lamb is then stuffed, or rather wrapped in the "lamb" dough, then deep fried... And Holy Cow!! er, I mean Holy Sheep!!! The stuff is good, especially served with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) or avgolemono saltsa (egg-lemon sauce) or even a pomegranate glaze (especially if mint is included in the stuffing part). 

There are several versions of Kibbeh, one of which the outer dough is not cooked but eaten raw, I believe this is called Kibbeh Nayye.  I mix mine up a little, and like to give it a Moroccan flair, so instead of Allspice, Cumin, Cinnamon, and Smoked Paprika, I use a wonderful spice mix called Ras al Hanout (top/front of the store). This is similar to an Indian/Thai curry or a Chinese 5 Spice; however, not all Ras al Hanout is created equal. The recipes are different from store to store in Morocco and from manufacturer to manufacturer in the U.S., containing anywhere from 11 to 111 different spices. It can be extremely complex in both flavor and aroma. Let your senses guide you if you choose to go this route. The brand I use is made by "Spicely".


For the Dough
1 lb Ground Lamb
1⁄2 lb Bulgar Wheat (I use #1 grind) 1 1/4 cups
1 Small Onion; coarsely chopped
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
For the Filling
1 Medium Onion; finely chopped
1/2 cup Pistachios; finely chopped
1 lb Ground Lamb or Goat (Cheven)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper*
1 tsp Ground Allspice*
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin*
1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika*
1/8 tsp Cinnamon*
2 TB Olive Oil
or use Ras al Hanout in the same amount as the sum of spices
For Cooking
Peanut oil

Paper towels to drain

Soak Bulgar for 30 minutes in bowl of cold water.

Start with the filling once the Bulgar is soaking.
In a pan, sauté finely chopped Onion in olive oil until softened, then add the Pistachios.

Add ground Lamb or Goat and break with wooden spoon or a fork to ensure the meat is fine in texture.

Add allspice, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin (or Ras al Hanout)

When lamb is brown remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

The Bulgar should be done soaking, so drain it though cheese cloth, squeezing to remove as much moisture as possible.

Place Ground Lamb, coarse Onion, Salt, Pepper and Bulgar in the bowl of a food processor, mix until a homogeneous mass of dough is created. (This can sometimes take a while)

When the dough has “come together”, begin heating your deep fryer to 350 degrees.
Then begin assembling the Kibbeh by taking an egg-sized amount of dough mix and form a ball. (Yes, I am that OCD sometimes… I used an actual egg to make sure I got it right)

Poke a hole in the center and add 2 TB of the filling.

Pinch closed and shape into a football. (although you can make them into balls)

When you are finished stuffing the Kibbeh.

Submerge in 350 degree oil for about 4-5 minutes or until dark golden brow then drain on a paper towel.

Serve with Avgolemono Saltsa (see Polpetes) or Tzatziki and have some Skorthalia on the side...



Spryte said...

Wow!! Those look really good!!

Bob said...

Oh man that looks awesome! I just love the idea of deep fried lamb stuffed lamb. :D