Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Honey, I've shrunk the kibbeh...

Since our Greenfield Village membership expired last year, our frequency of visits to Cedarland in Dearborn has also decreased dramatically. I may have mentioned before that my son, one of the ranking picky eaters out there, has an unusual accommodation for Middle Eastern preparations of lamb. The kid won't eat plain spaghetti or a strawberry, but give him kafta or kibbeh and he'll eat them without complaint.

I'm not skilled enough to make the lovely little football-shaped kibbeh that you get in restaurants (and no, we aren't fans of the raw version), but baked kibbeh in a pan is surprisingly easy to make.

I remembered this last week when perusing a copy of Eating Well at the library. This magazine and I don't have a great track record, since their recipes are too virtuous for the likes of me or my salt and fat-loving family. But I figured I could take their healthy recipe for Turkey Kibbeh and turn it back into a delicious, fatty version with little effort.

I went to Sparrow Meats and bought a half pound of ground lamb (theirs is usually very fatty) and a half pound of mixed lean ground beef and buffalo to substitute for the turkey (if you have access to lean ground lamb then I'd just use that). The only thing I didn't count on was quite how much fat there would be and how this would shrink the kibbeh once it baked.

Here is the kibbeh after I drained off the moat of fat around it--a good inch of so of shrinkage from the sides of the pan.
But it still tasted damn good, especially when served like this:
There are roasted sweet potatoes with smoked Spanish paprika, kale with lemon and garlic, the kibbeh and a yogurt/cucumber/tomato/garlic sauce. I'll include the recipes for the sweet potatoes and kale soon.

Baked Kibbeh
thoroughly bastardized from an Eating Well recipe for Turkey Kibbeh...

Kibbeh:
1/2 C bulgur
1 T olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1/3 C toasted pine nuts
1/2 t ground cumin
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground beef or buffalo
and if you aren't serving this to a parsley-phobic kid, add in 1 T chopped parsley

Yogurt sauce:
1 1/2 C plain yogurt (low or full fat)
1/2 a medium cucumber, peeled (unless homegrown), seeded and diced
1 small tomato, diced
1 T chopped parsley
1 T of chopped mint if you have it
1 small clove of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 t salt
ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450. Coat a 8 x 8 or 6 x 10 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place bulgar in a bowl and cover it with hot tap water.

2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in pine nuts.

3. Drain the bulgar, pressing on it to remove excess liquid. In a large bowl, mix it with the lamb, beef or buffalo, cumin, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper and optional parsley. Mix until combined.

4. Pat half of the meat mixture into the baking dish. Top with the onion/pine nuts, pressing gently into the meat layer. Cover with the rest of the turkey mixture, pressing gently into the onion layer. Cover with foil.

NOTE: the dish can be refrigerated now until about 45 minutes before dinner.

5. Bake the kibbeh for 30 minutes. Take off the foil and drain off the copious quantities of fat that will have accumulated in a moat around your kibbeh. Notice how much it has shrunk and praise it for its willingness to let go of its fat. Put the kibbeh back in the over for about 15 more minutes UNCOVERED so the top will brown a little.

6. Cut into squares. Serve with the yogurt sauce (which is just the above ingredients combined in a bowl. Duh.)

2 comments:

Mary Jean said...

Mmm, I made this tonight, and it was terrific. Instead of layering the onion/pine nut mixture I just stirred it right into the meat, because for me cooked onions are best eaten in a dispersed manner. Didn't bother with the yogurt sauce since a certain bearded member of the household who shall not be named wouldn't touch it. Thanks!

jano said...

hello Kate
i read your Kibbe recipe , i always cook Kebbe , but i use only the beef minced meet to mix with the Boghul , and you may mix some ground meat with the pine nuts and the onions .
Trust me you will love it