Lebanese Kibbeh in a Tray

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“Kibbeh is virtually the national dish of Lebanon and to call it a meat loaf does not quite raise it to the heights it deserves. Its traditional preparation is dramatic. It requires a stone mortar and a heavy pestle called the jorn and modaqqa. The meat is pounded with rhythmic motions until it is smooth and pasty. All the neighborhood knows the sound of kibbeh in the making.”
2hrs 20mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Select lamb from loin of the animal.
  2. Pound the cubed meat with a teaspoon of salt in a stone mortar with a wooden mallet.
  3. Remove meat from mortar when it becomes pasty.
  4. Now pound onion with a teaspoon of salt and the pepper until it is reduced to a pulp.
  5. Combine meat and onion and pound together until very smooth.
  6. Wash bulghur well in running water but do this quickly so that it does not soften.
  7. Press to remove water.
  8. Knead bulghur and meat with the hands.
  9. Pound together in mortar.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Dip mallet in ice water occasionally to keep meat moist and smooth.
  12. Properly prepared kibbeh must be pounded at least an hour.
  13. Then it is ready to be eaten as it is, or cooked in a variety of ways.
  14. Preparation time may be shortened considerably by grinding meat several times through fine blade of meat grinder.
  15. Grind onion twice.
  16. Grind onions with meat once.
  17. Combine washed bulghur with meat-onion mixture.
  18. Knead well, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  19. Grind this mixture three times adding a tablespoon of ice water to keep it smooth.
  20. To make stuffing: Heat fat.
  21. Fry chopped onions in it until soft.
  22. Add meat and fry until lightly browned.
  23. Add pine nuts and continue frying until they are slightly browned and the meat has lost its pink color entirely.
  24. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
  25. Pour off excess fat.
  26. To make Kibbeh in a Tray: Grease a shallow 12 x 18 inch baking pan.
  27. Pat a layer of basic kibbeh smoothly and firmly over the bottom of the pan to the depth of one inch.
  28. Cover this evenly with with a layer of stuffing.
  29. Top with a second layer of kibbeh slightly thicker than the first.
  30. Score into diamond shapes with a sharp knife.
  31. Pour one cup melted samneh or butter over all.
  32. Bake in moderate oven about 20 minutes, or until well browned.
  33. Serve hot or cold.

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