Zghorta-style kibbeh patties stuffed with cinnamon and pine-nut butter

Zghorta-style kibbeh patties stuffed with cinnamon and pine-nut butter

By
From
Saha
Makes
16 patties
Photographer
Matt Harvey

True kibbeh shaham is the speciality of Zghorta, a mountain village in the north of Lebanon. It is not terribly appealing to a Western palate as the stuffing is made from pieces of solid white fat – aliya – a product of the local breed of fat-tail sheep. This version is a twist on the traditional and incorporates a lightly spiced butter filling which keeps the shell moist, as is the intent, but is slightly less threatening to the arteries.

Kibbeh shell

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
230g fine white burghul
1 onion, puréed in a food processor
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
salt and pepper
450g lean lamb, roughly diced

Cinnamon and pine-nut butter

Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g pine nuts, fried

Method

  1. Begin by soaking the burghul in plenty of cold salted water for about 10 minutes. Now, using your hands, squeeze out as much water as you can, then tip into a tea towel and twist to extract even more. Tip into a mixing bowl. Add the puréed onion, spices, salt and pepper to the burghul and use your hands to squeeze and mix everything together.
  2. Put the lamb through a mincer, then add it to the burghul. Mix well with your hands, then put it through the mincer again. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, which will make the paste easier to work with. While the shell mixture is chilling in the fridge, prepare the filling. Put the softened butter into a mixing bowl with the cinnamon, salt and pine nuts and mash together well. Scrape the filling out onto a square of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 3 cm wide. Roll up tightly and refrigerate until it sets firm.
  3. To make the patties, cut the butter into thin slices – no more than 5 mm thick. Divide the shell mixture into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, and stick your thumb into the ball to create a cavity. Ideally, the shells should be as thin as you can make them. Slip in a piece of cinnamon and pine-nut butter, then use a little water to moisten the open edges and seal them well. Cup your hands and smooth and shape the shells into thick, rounded patties. Leave the stuffed kibbeh on a tray in the refrigerator, covered, until you are ready to cook them.
  4. Traditionally, these kibbeh are cooked on a charcoal grill or barbecue. Alternatively, bake them in a 190°C oven for about 20 minutes or shallow-fry them in 150 ml medium–hot vegetable oil, turning them to ensure that they’re a deep golden brown all over. Drain them on kitchen paper and serve piping hot with yoghurt.
Tags:
Saha
Malouf
Lucy
Greg
Lebanon
Lebanese
Syria
Syrian
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