Kibbee and Rice

Kibbee is a traditional Lebanese dish that can be eaten baked, fried, or (yikes!) raw. It's a mixture of lamb (sometimes I use beef), bulgar wheat and spices. When I was a kid I would gobble this stuff down raw...not any more...too risky today with food born illness. Anyhow, I did my own variation by forming the mixture into meatballs and cooking it with rice and toasted spaghetti (the original rice-a-roni. I love cooking rice with these seasonings because the aroma permeates the whole house. Here's How I made it:

Soak a handful of bulgar in warm water for 1/2 hour, then squeeze it out. Add it to a bowl with either lean ground beef or lamb, minced onion, garlic, hot pepper, and a pinch each of ground cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper.

Then mix in some chopped flat leaf parsley and fresh mint. Here's an image of the first thing I was able to pick from my garden this year: mint (and it's only May in Buffalo).

Shape the mixture into meatballs.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides.

Heat a separate pan with olive oil, then add broken pieces of uncooked spaghetti, diced onion, and minced garlic. Cook until everything begins to brown (take care not to burn the garlic). When things just begin to brown add a pinch each of cumin, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir it then add a cup of rice. Stir the rice to coat it with the oil and spices. Then add two cups of chicken broth. Lower the heat to a simmer then add the meatballs to the liquid. Cover the pan and simmer the rice for 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.