Monday, October 3, 2011

Kibbeh bel-saniyyeh (Kibbeh pie) recipe

The Hummus Recipes Kitchen (The home of Hummus Recipes & Delicious Middle Eastern Recipes) invites you to try Kibbeh bel-saniyyeh (Kibbeh pie) Recipe. Enjoy the Middle Eastern Cuisine and learn how to make Kibbeh bel-saniyyeh (Kibbeh pie).

Kibbeh is made in a pan, in Arabic saniyyeh, in two layers, with a ground meat and pine nuts filling in-between; hence the name: Kibbeh bel-saniyyeh. It is baked in the oven like a pie.

Kibbeh bel-saniyyeh is served with a yogurt and cucumber salad.

First Step: Make the filling and set aside or freeze.

1 pound of ground lamb (fatty is OK) or beef or goat
1 large onion (about 10 ounces)
1 cup of pine nuts
spices: salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, paprika or 2 teaspoons of seven-spice
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses (I prefer date molasses), optional


Heat some olive oil and fry the chopped onion till golden, remove and set aside. Fry the meat until cooked, using two wooden spoons to break it up in little pieces. (I usually throw the cooked meat in a food processor and pulse a few seconds till it is reduced to tiny pellets). Add the spices, taste to adjust seasoning and remove with a slotted spoon and mix with the onion.

Fry the pine nuts in clarified butter, remove and drain on paper towels and mix with the onion and meat mixture. Set aside or freeze (for about 3 weeks), if not using right away.

Second step: Making the kibbeh paste

2 pounds of super-lean and tender filet or tenderloin or leg of lamb, all fat removed and ground twice, if possible.
1 onion, quartered
2 cups of extra-fine bulgur #1
Spices: salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, allspice, and a teaspoon of seven-spice
clarified butter, as needed (or oil)


Place the bulgur in a bowl; fill it up with cold tap water and rinse, repeating the operation again if the water seems very cloudy. Squish the bulgur and the water a few seconds and feel the bulgur: it should be soft. Dump the bulgur into a sieve over the sink, pressing it down with a mallet to extract all the water from it.

Place the quartered onions in a food processor and start pulsing to chop the onion; sprinkle the spices over the onion and pulse some more to chop it even more. Add the meat and process for a few minutes, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the meat is pasty and smooth.

Add the bulgur to the mixture and process for a few more minutes; stop the machine every so often to scrape the bowl, smelling and adding more spices. Keep in mind that the bulgur will dull the flavor of the meat somewhat and more spices may be needed, one teaspoon at a time.

When the kibbeh is ready and thoroughly mixed and smooth, dump it into a bowl, cover the bowl and refrigerate if you need a break. You can leave it in the fridge all day. When ready to resume, slather a generous film of clarified butter on the pan (I used a 12 inch pan). Divide the kibbeh mixture in two (can use a scale to make sure the two parts are the same). Roll out two large pieces of wax paper and place the kibbeh on the wax paper. Cover with the other piece of wax paper and roll out with a rolling pin as if making a pie crust. Patch here and there with your fingertips dipped in a small bowl of ice water.

When the kibbeh has been rolled out to a thickness of 1/2 inch, no more, hold the dough with the palm of your hands and flip it onto the greased pan. Detach the wax paper and cutting here and there with a pizza cutter, adjust the dough to fit the pan, just like you would with a pie crust. Pat it lightly all around the circumference.

Now dump the filling on the bottom “crust”, spreading it around with a spatula to make sure it covers the entire surface of the pan. Repeat the rolling of the remaining dough on a large piece of wax paper, to about the same thickness. Flip it over the filling and pat it lightly with fingers moistened with ice water.

Score the kibbeh with a knife or a pizza cutter into 2 crossing lines; trace lines going across to divide the sections. Brush the entire pie with clarified butter, generously. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake the kibbeh for 30 minutes or so, until the surface is browned and glistening. Check that it is cooked by pressing a fingertip on the surface; if it feels somwhat hard, it is done. No need to overcook it.

TIP: The kibbeh can be stored uncooked in the fridge for a couple of days until the time of your dinner. It can be also stored in the freezer for up to two weeks. Remove from the freezer and bake frozen till cooked thoroughly.

Middle-Eastern grocers sell packaged spice mix from Lebanon specifically for kibbeh; on the package it will say “kibbe spice“. You can use this and forget about all the other spices if you wish. Seven spice is another spice mix used in Lebanese kitchens and made up of various spices in different proportions, such as allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, white pepper, paprika, coriander or  cumin.


More Middle Eastern Recipes:

Cracked Wheat Croquette
Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma
Spicy Chicken Shawarma Salad
Chicken Shawarma
Lamb Shawarma
Hummus Pita Sandwich 

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