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Grandma Helen's Baked Kibbeh

Ingredients for the bulgar mixture:

1 1/2 lb ground lamb (or beef), 85/15*
1 cup bulgar wheat
1 medium onion, coarsley chopped
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for the filling:

1/2 lb. ground lamb (or beef), lean
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tsp olive oil

*85/15 is the lean to fat ratio in meat.  For the filling I like to use lean beef or lamb so 90-100% lean.  But because I don't want the bulgar mixture to dry out, I use meat that is 85% lean, 15% fat.

Method

To make bulgar mixture:

In a medium bowl, soak the bulgar wheat for 30 minutes in cold water.  Remove and drain.  If you still have to remove excess water, squeeze through paper towels.  Return to bowl and combine the 1 1/2 pounds of the meat, onion, salt, pepper, allspice and cinnamon.  Put small amounts at a time in a food processor until it forms a dough-like consistency then return mixture to bowl.

To make filling:

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onions and sautee for about 5-8 min or until transluscent.  Next add the meat, salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon and cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add pine nuts and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Assembly:

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Spray a large rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Evenly spread and press half of the bulgar mixture on bottom of baking pan.  Then evenly spread the filling on top of the mixture.  Spoon remaining mixture on top of filling and spread evenly, smoothing the top of the mixture. Brush top with a little bit of olive oil.  With a paring knife,  Grandma liked to score the top into small diamond or crosshatch pattern but that's optional.  Bake on middle rack for about 35-40 minutes until meat is cooked through.  If Garnish top with a sprinkle of pine nuts.  Serve with plain regular or Greek yogurt.

I served this alongside a simple Syrian salad: romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese.  Dressing: juice of one lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, about a tablespoon crushed mint, salt/pepper. 


kibbeh