Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kibbie - Middle Eastern Stuffed Meatballs

Kibbie are Middle Eastern Meatballs that are stuffed with ground beef, onions, nuts, and spices.  They are very delicious and fun to make.  They are a bit time consuming, but if you make a big batch you can easily freeze a portion to fry up quickly on a busy night.  They make great appetizers along with pita bread, hummus and tabbouleh, or you can serve them with rice and a salad to make a meal out of them.


1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 T butter
3/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds (my slivered almonds happened to be rather large)
1 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
black pepper

Heat the butter in a large heavy pot.  Add ground beef, onions, and spices.  Saute until no pink remains.  Add nuts and reseason if necessary.  Set aside to cool completely.

Kibbie (Outer dough):
1 1/2 cups dry bulgur (No. 1 cracked wheat)
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice

In a medium bowl combine the bulgur and 1 cup water and stir to combine.  Set aside for 30 minutes. Bulgur should be tender to the bite after 30 minutes and should be "dry."  If bulgur is still wet squeeze water out by placing in thick paper towels and wringing out or by pressing water out through a fine mess sieve.

Add onion to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until onion is diced.  Add meat and spices and pulse for a few seconds or until meat and onion are completely incorporated.    Add prepared bulgur and process until mixture is thick and dough-like.

Have a cool bowl of water nearby and line a sheetpan with parchment paper.  Generously wet your hands with water and then take a large tablespoon of "dough" and press it into a flat oval.  Try to cup it in your fingers and place a spoonful of filling in the middle and pinch dough around filling to enclose it.  Shape into a football or a regular meatball shape if you prefer and set on parchment.  Repeat with all remaining dough and filling.
*Make sure to keep your hands wet to prevent the dough from sticking.

(Alternately, you can  grab a ball of dough and press your thumb into the middle and create a "cup" then spoon filling into the middle. Pinch the opening closed and then shape into a football.  Do what works for you.)

Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees.  Add a few kibbie at a time, but do not crowd the pan.  Fry for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined tray and let cool 5 minutes.  Repeat with remaining kibbie.  Enjoy!

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