This kibbeh came about when I retrieved a pot of muhammara from the freezer and was wondering what to do with it. I wanted to make some kibbeh with the meat I had, but did not want to fuss with making balls (too time-consuming); so I came-up with kibbeh sajiyeh which is kibbeh rounds stuffed with muhammara but a lot easier to shape (since the kibbeh dough is rolled out and cut like cookies). From that thought came the idea of making a kibbeh pie, an even easier and faster choice. Finally, I thought “why not add some cheese on top of the muhammara?”. Et voilà. I picked a sliced Monterey Jack from the supermarket, but any melting cheese will work here. Another idea was to flavor the kibbeh dough with a bit of red pepper paste, some fresh oregano from my herb pot outside, and extra spices to give it a little bit of flavor. Finally, once it comes out of the oven, all cooked and a tad dry on top, I brushed it with a thin film of chili oil or olive oil spiked with chili sauce. I was happy with the results. The kibbeh tasted lighter and had more flavor than the traditional kibbeh pie.
Kibbeh pie stuffed with cheese and muhammaraJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern September 9, 2020 Main Dish, Eggs/Dairy/Cheese, Meats, cheese, muhammara, bulgur #1, Kibbeh pie, lean meat,
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 pound eye of round or top sirloin (very lean meat)
1 small onion, quartered or half a large onion
1 1/4 cup brown bulgur#1
2 Tbsp red pepper paste (optional)
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
2 sprigs of oregano leaves chopped-up (can use basil instead)
salt, black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, cumin (1 tsp of each or to taste)
1 cup prepared muhammara
1 package Monterey Jack cheese, sliced (or shredded) or any other melting cheese of your choice (can use more cheese as desired)
Garnish: olive oil or chili oil to brush pie and extra basil or oregano leaves to garnish
- Cut-up the meat into chunks and process in the food processor until it is pasty and smooth. Can add one ice cube if you like to speed-up the job.
- Soak the bulgur in water for 5 minutes while the meat is being pureed.
- Squeeze the bulgur dry. Transfer the pasty meat to a bowl. Place the bulgur, onion and spices into the food processor and process until the mixture is uniformly mixed and the onion is no longer visible. Now add the meat back in along with the extra seasoning (optional) such as the red pepper paste, pomegranate molasses and oregano. Process for a few minutes, scraping the bowl from time to time to make sure everything gets mixed-up evenly. If desired, snatch up a small piece and fry it quickly to test the flavor of the kibbeh and adjust it. (I did that and that's when I decided to add the red pepper paste and oregano).
- Grease a 10" cake pan (I used a springform pan with removable sides), and start shaping your pie. You can divide the dough into two parts and roll each part between two sheets of wax paper and then flip it over onto the cake pan. Or you can do as I did, which is to snatch off small pieces, flatten them between the palms of your hand and set them on the pan side by side. Dampen your fingers with some ice water (in a bowl nearby) and make sure the surface is even and has no holes. Now spread the muhammara evenly over the entire surface of the pie, leaving about 1/2" of the circumference empty. Layer the cheese slices over the muhammara. Then work on the top, by rolling it or pressing bits of dough until the entire pie is covered. Again, use some ice watered fingers to even out the top, and make it smooth.
- Brush oil (or some chili oil) on top of the pie and score the pie. Using a knife, run the blade around the circumference to separate it slightly from the metal. Pinch the dough all around to make sure it is tightly snug and sealed.
- Set the cake pan on a cookie sheet (to make sure it does not leak everywhere) and bake in a preheated 375F oven until the meat is cooked and the top appears dry and stiff. Brush with extra chili oil if desired, garnish with a few fresh oregano or basil leaves and serve immediately. Sahtein!
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