Squash, Pomegranate and Pinenut Kibbeh

Do you want to know how to start a fight in the Middle-East? No, not that. You ask delegates from each country a simple question - "Who invented kibbeh?". Actually you can replace kibbeh with hummus, tabbouleh, falafel...And you'll still get the same reaction. Aside from portraying Middle-Easterns as short tempered gourmands, my aim was to highlight that Kibbeh is a pan-Arabian dish. With Levantine roots.

Being the national dish of Lebanon one shouldn't really mess with Kibbeh (short-tempered Arabs). So I didn't! My love for kibbeh is fierce and passionate. I have spent many a candelit night with a plate of kibbeh extolling the unmatched beauty of minced meat and bulghur wheat - a combination made in...Yeah, you get it. But one thing I knew was that merely saying you like kibbeh was like saying you like cheese - Which kibbeh? How was it cooked? What does it come with?

Pumpkin kibbeh is a classic Lebanese dish usually eaten in the areas around Mount Lebanon and I've tweaked my mums classic recipe for you lovely people. Hope you enjoy it.

Outer Shell
350g boiled and puréed squash (or pumpkin)
275g bulghur wheat
1-2 teaspoons of cumin seeds crushed
1 tablespoon of plain white flour
salt and pepper to taste

250g boiled and puréed squash (or pumpkin)
a handful of toasted pinenuts
1 large onion diced
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried mint
2-3 tablespoons of pomegranate syrup
1 tablespoon of dried raisins
1/2 teaspoon baharat*
a splash of olive oil
salt and pepper

*Baharat is a mixture of allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cassia bark, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and nutmeg.

Peel and cut squash into small chunks. Boil until tender then either purée or...squash, ahem, the squash. Soak the bulghur wheat in hot water for twenty or so minutes (until all the water has evaporated). Mix 350g of the puréed squash with the soaked bulghur wheat and the crushed cumin seeds. Add a splash of oil and the flour. Add the seasoning and leave at room temperature until the filling is completed.

Gently fry a diced onion until transluscent and remove to a bowl. In the same pan toast some pinenuts and remove to the same bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling into the bowl and mix. Taste and add more baharat, pomegranate or seasoning if it needs it.

Fill a bowl with cold water and lightly grease a baking tray. Now it's the fun part - moulding the kibbeh! This is going to be hard to explain so bare with me! You need to roll the outer shell in one hand until a small stubby cylinder is formed. You then prick down through the top into the middle of the cylinder until you have a hole through the top (but not all the way through) the cylinder. Spoon in some of the filling into the gap and gently form the cylinder shape into a torpedo by moulding the outer shell gently to encompass the filling and cover the hole. Squash kibbeh is notorious for being hard to shape so take your time and keep dipping your hands in water!

Place the torpedos (how cool does that sound?) onto the baking tray. You can now either bake or fry the kibbeh but I elected to bake. I sprayed some olive oil on to the kibbeh and let them bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes. How many pieces of kibbeh this recipe makes depends on how big your torpedos are (I managed to get 20). To accompany the kibbeh I mixed bio yoghurt with dried minute and topped it with pomegranate syrup. Lemon also brightens up some of the flavour. I've got a few more updated Lebanese recipes to upload soon but I also welcome any suggestions! Let me know!


Post a Comment