Lamb kibbeh

Lamb kibbeh

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

I’ve eaten these in northern Cyprus many times. In a cobbled market square, women stand under umbrellas in broiling summer heat, shaping the kibbeh and frying them in batches. Piled high and eaten just warm, these crisp, torpedo-shaped shells are filled with a spiced, fragrant filling. Use fine bulgur to form the dough.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the kibbeh dough

Quantity Ingredient
150g fine bulgur
250g minced lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
freshly ground black pepper, (about 1⁄2 teaspoon) to taste
salt, (about 1 teaspoon) to taste

For the stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
150g minced lamb
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sumac
30g pine nuts, (or finely chopped almonds)
a generous pinch salt

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
tahini sauce
lemon wedges
Homemade chilli sauce, optional

Method

  1. First put the bulgur into a bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water. When the bulgur is soft, about 7 minutes, drain well, squeezing out as much water as possible.
  2. To make the stuffing, fry the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of oil for 8–10 minutes, until completely soft. Add the lamb, spices, pine nuts and salt and cook for 5–10 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside, checking the seasoning.
  3. To make the kibbeh dough, use a food processor. Blend the softened bulgur with the raw mince, spices, pepper and salt to form a dough-like consistency. Remove and knead vigorously in a bowl or on a worktop. Place the kibbeh dough in the fridge, covered, for 30 minutes to firm up.
  4. Use wet hands to form kibbeh balls the size of a golf ball – roll it well in the palm of your hand to give a smooth surface. Using your thumb, make a hole in the ball to create a deep and even pocket in the kibbeh casing.
  5. Fill the pocket with about 2 teaspoons of cooked lamb stuffing, closing it securely by squeezing the ends together. The kibbeh should be an oval shape with pointed ends. Set the kibbeh on a plate and continue the process until you have used all the dough and filling.
  6. In a non-stick frying pan over a moderate heat, add enough cooking oil to be at least 3cm deep. When the oil is hot, fry the kibbeh in batches until crisp and golden brown all over – about 6–8 minutes. You can deep-fry the kibbeh if you prefer.
  7. Serve hot or even just warm at room temperature, with the tahini sauce and lemon wedges. Chilli sauce is good too.
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