This kibbeh roll, made like a jelly roll cake, is a creation of Aleppo cooks. It is a lot easier and faster to make than kibbeh balls. Two pounds of kibbeh paste will yield three long rolls, of which one or two can be frozen.
The original recipes usually call for stuffing the roll with a mixture of ground meat, onion, and pistachio (called Aleppo pistachios here, fustuk halabi). I decided to go lighter and used only onions and pistachios, which works fine; a touch of pomegranate molasses is added to the stuffing. The pomegranate molasses can be substituted with date or grape molasses.
Stuffing: 2 rolls about 12 to 14″ long
- 4 large onions, sliced into rings
- 2 cups pistachios, peeled and split in halves or chopped coarsely
- 1/3 cup oil or clarified butter
- salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1. Fry the onions in the oil until browned and caramelized; add the pistachios and fry a couple of minutes with a touch of pomegranate molasses if desired.
Don’t split the dough in half if you like your roll to be thick and longer.
Kibbe dough: Can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated. Recipe can be doubled.
- 1 pound (1/2 kilo or 500g.) of kibbe meat, meaning extra lean piece of meat, whether it is beef, lamb, or goat. Ask the butcher to grind it 3 or 4 times, if possible.
- 1 onion, medium size, about 7 ounces
- 1 cup (150g.) of fine-grade bulgur, or burghul #1
- Spice mix consisting of salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, paprika, and whatever else you fancy, about 1/2 teaspoon each.
- Place the bulgur in a small bowl and sprinkle with cold water. Set aside.
- Cut the onion into chunks and pulse in the food processor until the onion is chopped very finely. Place the bulgur in a sieve and press all of the water and moisture out. Add to the onion and process for a minute or two.
- Add the meat to the onion and bulgur mixture with the spices and process for a few minutes until the mixture is firm but moist. This should around five minutes.
- If the mixture looks too stiff, add a few drops of ice water; the meat paste should be thick and smooth. Divide the dough in 2 halves. Set a small bowl of water with ice cubes nearby and knead the dough a few seconds by hand until you are comfortable with its texture (it is smooth and malleable like playdough). Now roll it out between sheets of plastic or wax paper into a rectangle. Stuff it with half the pistachio and onion stuffing at one end and roll, using the plastic wrap. To seal the roll, dip your fingers in the ice water and brush the kibbeh dough with your wet fingers. Set the rolls on a baking sheet, brush with oil generously and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the rolls are set and feel stiff when thumped. Cool then slice and serve with yogurt if desired.
NOTE: Some like to wet the plastic sheets; I don’t find it necessary, however, adding ice water is part of the process of making kibbeh and don’t be afraid to do so if the dough is too stiff.