An outing was planned this Sunday to visit one of the producers at Souk el Tayeb and get acquainted with the region ofEhden in which he and his family live. A short hike in the Nature Reservefollowed by a feast at their home was on the program.
Mr. Sarkis Jeriusand his wife Leena slaughtered a goat, an ancient tradition in Lebanon that goes back to the days of Abraham. We were offered this very fresh goat meat in its various traditional forms: raw, in a kibbeh, in brochettes.
Raw kibbeh or kibbeh nayeh made with fresh goat meat was the one plate which drew the most oohs and aahs from the enraptured guests.
Kibbe nayeh is considered by Lebanese as the masterpiece on our mezze table and is of course best with very fresh meat.
Following the feast which included a tabouleh, various mezze dishes, desserts, fruits from their orchard, and of course all thearakour heart desired, we were treated to a spontaneous recital by our host (who had at one time won first prize in a competition at Studio El-Fan); when asked how he maintained his svelte figure, his answer was: ” Sweat every day, no salt, no sugar and I only eat the meat I slaughter myself!”.
What a day! It was worth the long drive home to Beirut.
Check out all the outings organized by the Souk el-Tayeb folks; not only do you get to discover a region but you will also meet local farmers and producers, only too happy to share their life with you for a day.
INGREDIENTS: For the kibbeh nayieh
- 2 pounds of raw goat meat as fresh as possible (can substitute lamb or beef), very lean
- 1 medium white onion (about 7 ounces)
- 12 large leaves of fresh basil (can substitute fresh marjoram)
- salt, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (to taste)
- one or more ice cubes
- 2 cups of fine grade bulgur (#1)
- Grate the onion and sprinkle it with the spices. Mix lightly with a fork. Set aside for a few minutes.
- Place the bulgur in a bowl; add water to cover by an inch or so, let it soak for a couple of minutes and rinse; squeeze well to remove the moisture from the bulgur and add to the onion and spices.
- Process the meat for several minutes in the food processor with a few ice cubes if the meat is very fresh; make sure the meat is pasty and smooth and add the onion mixture and the chopped leaves of fresh basil or marjoram. Process some more to get a homogenous mixture. Remove and flatten into a serving platter, forming small indentations with the back of a spoon.
- Decorate with fresh mint leaves and spring onions or white onions, quartered. Serve with a pitcher of extra-virgin olive oil and pita bread.
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