Kibbeh (cru et cuit)

Ok, so to some this may be a bit odd...raw meat. Yup, that's what one version of this famous Lebanese dish is; raw lamb and bulgar wheat (pictured above). In it's raw form it is referred to as kibbeh nayeh; think of it as a sort of Middle Eastern steak tartare. When I was a kid we had this every weekend at my grandmothers house, but on a large platter not fancy individual servings as pictured (this was a test meal for an upcoming dinner I'll e serving...sort of haute cuisine libanaise). It's funny to think that I never really thought of it as raw meat back was simply kibbeh. We would layer it in flatbread that was fresh from the oven with vegetables and dripping with olive oil (yum!). Pictured above it is garnished with pickled vegetables and whole grain sesame crackers . After the first day then you can cook it in any number of ways---baked, stuffed, fried, patties, etc--but one of my favorites is simply to roll it into meatballs, bake them and eat them on a salad with yogurt and vinaigrette. Now this is making me hungry. Anyhow, the basic recipe is below. If you'd like to see other ways in which to cook/use this recipe, including pictures of it being made, click here. If you'd like other Lebanese inspired recipes, click here.


1/4 cup medium bulgur wheat

3/4 pound boneless lamb, diced

1/2 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 small bunch mint, minced

Place the bulgur in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the bulgur along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and process for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process for another 20 or 30 seconds, or until a smooth paste. (You can also use ground lamb and mix the ingredients together for a courser texture.) Stir in the mint, remove the meat from the bowl; refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Serve raw or shape into small balls or patties; bake, fry, saute, or poach the kibbeh and serve with yogurt sauce.