Baked Kibbeh

Want to eat kibbeh without worrying about all the calories? This version of the recipe is actually super healthy and extremely delicious! To make it you will need:

 

I have a confession to make.. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and there’s a lot of Lebanese people that emigrated in the 19th century. Because of this reason, it is super common to find kibbeh in every corner along with other fry foods like empanadas… So I never thought before I actually moved to Canada that this was a dish so common in the Middle East..

We call them “quipes” back at home and they are one of my favorite finger foods… Naturally I wanted to learn how to make these and my friend Jessica taught me how her grandma makes them and together, we came up with a baked version of this dish.. I was super surprised at the texture we managed to get baking them instead of frying them.. Honestly I loved them as much as the fried version!! Now back to the recipe..

This recipe takes about 2 hours to complete but it is an excellent make-ahead dish. You can make them and freeze them raw or cooked and they are delicious as a snack with Hummus or as a party appetizer…

 

In Dominican, we usually leave the bulgur in water and soak it overnight. You can skip this step and simply wash the bulgur before you use it but it is tastier if soaked overnight. I used the darker bulgur that is extremely fine (I believe #1 in how fine it is).

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On a food processor, blend the remaining onions. I also blended about 3/4 of the meat because I find the texture is better.This is an extra step you do not need to do. I also processed half of the bulgur but this is also an extra step. You can also blend all of the bulgur.. It just changes the texture of the outside of the kibbeh as it is a bit more coarse.. I found that this method gave me the perfect texture. This is what will be the outside of the kibbeh. Combine the meat with the onion and bulgur and add 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of clove, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of paprika. Set aside.

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Now it is time to make the filling. Chop 2 onions into small squares, the smaller the better. Now you can also add sweet peppers to this recipe.. I didn’t because I don’t like the taste. Cook the onions (and peppers if you wish) over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add in finely chopped basil and in the middle add tomato sauce. I cook it for about a minute to take away the canned taste..

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Add in the meat, combine all the ingredients and brown it with some full cilantro leaves (I add this to give extra flavour to the meat). I always use a fork to separate the meat…  In the meantime you can add seasoning.. 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of clove, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of paprika.

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Now you can add raisins (this is something Dominicans do.. you can skip this step but my friends LOVED the raisins..) and the pine nuts (I browned them before for extra taste). When all the liquid has evaporated and the meat has fully cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature. Make sure you taste it before and if it needs extra salt and pepper, add by all means!

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Now it is time to assemble the kibbeh’s (remember you can always make them like a tray and cut them into triangles if you are too lazy to make them with this shape)..

I always organize myself and set the bowl of the cooked meat and a small spoon, uncooked meat, a small bowl with a bit of water and the tray I will be cooking the kibbeh’s in that has been greased with olive oil as well as a plate to make the shape over in case meat falls.. Make sure you are organized before starting..

take 2 tablespoon of the uncooked mixture in your hands and make a ball. Make a hole in the ball and place a teaspoon of cooked meat filling in the hole.

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Then use the uncooked meat to cover over and close the hole.

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I always press my kibbeh to make it as compact as possible.

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You can freeze them uncooked. If your making them right away then you will place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked. I always turn them around halfway through. The cooking time really depends on how large the kibbehs are.

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Now.. if you are cheating and want to fry them, make sure you refrigerate them for about six hours. The oil should be hot or your kibbes will break. You can tell that they are cooked because they will be golden brown.. I served mine with delicious home made Hummus

 

 

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