Iraq is the birthplace of Middle-Eastern culture and civilization and it is in Iraq that one finds all the sources to what is now known as “Middle-Eastern food”. The kibbeh famous is Iraq comes from the ancient city of Mosul, and it is not only delicious but also very challenging to make! The kibbeh is very large and very thin and is boiled, not fried. I used a version published in the fascinating Nawal Nasrallah’s Delights from the Garden of Eden.
In her version, the kibbeh is baked rather than boiled; since the Mosul kibbeh is shaped like a large flat disc this is an easier method. Served like a pie or as I did here, in little squares, it is a delightful kibbeh especially when paired with a dollop of cold and creamy yogurt.
INGREDIENTS: 4 discs (up to 16 servings)
- 1 pound of ground sirloin
- 2 cups of bulgur (extra-fine, #1)
- 1/2 cup of semolina flour
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsps of olive oil
- Spices: 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of allspice, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1/2 tsp of hot or mild paprika or chile powder, 1/4 tsp of sumac (optional), 1 tbsp of brown sugar (optional, not in recipe)
- nuts to garnish
- glaze: 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 small egg, 1 tbsp of tomato sauce or paste (sauce is easier to dissolve)
- yogurt, as a side (optional) or salad or raw veggies
- Cover the bulgur and cream of wheat with warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and press all extra moisture.
- Place the onion in quarters in the bowl of a food processor and process until the onion is finely chopped; add the meat and spices and process for a few minutes until the meat is pasty. Add the bulgur mixture in two or three stages and process to combine well. Transfer the kibbeh to a bowl.
- Shape the kibbeh by flattening one big ball into a round disc, about 8 inch in diameter and placing it onto a cookie sheet lined with a greased piece of foil. Mix the egg, oil and tomato sauce and brush the glaze on the kibbeh disc. Score the kibbeh if desired and place a pistachio or almond on each losange.
- Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes until done. Serve with yogurt or a salad on the side.
NOTE: The spices can be adjusted to your taste. The quantities can be halved. The kibbeh can be made with a different type of meat, as in ground turkey, lamb or chicken.
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