Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mezze for dinner (recipes for Kibbe and Labneh)

I really enjoy Lebanese food (and Middle Eastern in general). Last year for my birthday we went to The Cedar Restaurant in Camp Hill and the four of us shared ten mezze for dinner. Since the first few times we went to the restaurant, J really seemed to enjoy this type of food. Since then I have been trying to recreate as many things as possible. This is one of my favorite restaurant items, kibbe balls. The restaurant deep fries the balls but this recipe calls for you to bake them. I think I prefer the frying but I'm sure it was less messy this way. In addition to the kibbe balls, hummus, and pita bread, I decided to make some of the other things we enjoy from the Lebanese Restaurant, labneh and vegetables. Labneh
Yogurt Cheese on Foodista

I have been making labneh for a few months now. I told someone about it who was skeptical of this method but it is so much easier than making your own yogurt to start with store bought yogurt. I've only used Greek yogurt. Mix a few sprinkles of kosher salt into yogurt. Place yogurt in a strainer lined with a coffee filter over a bow. Cover and place in fridge overnight and drain until yogurt cheese forms. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of sumac.

Kibbe Balls
(from Chicho's Kitchen)

1 to 1½ lb (500 to 700g) ground beef
2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Wash bulgur under running water then soak in water for about 10 minutes. Drain then press to remove moisture as much as possible.
  2. Mash onion in the food processor then add meat in batches.
  3. Remove and place aside.
  4. Mix meat mixture with bulgur, salt, spices. Process well in batches into a firm paste.
  5. Knead mixture with wet hands into a smooth paste. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes covered with a piece of wet texture.
Filling:
1/3 pound (150g) ground beef
1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a handful of fried pine nuts
1 tbsp sumac


  1. Fry chopped onion with a dash of salt in oil until transparent.
  2. Add minced meat, salt and spices to onions and fry until cooked.
  3. Mix in pine nuts. Put filling aside.
  4. Divide paste into egg sized balls. Dip your hands in cold water then roll each ball between the palms of your hands until smooth.
  5. Make a hole in the middle with your forefinger. Work finger round in the hole until you have a shell of even thickness.
  6. Fill hole with filling mixture and close opening. Moisten with cold water to seal well and to shape with two pointed sides. If any breaks appear in shell, close with wet fingers.
  7. Place balls on a tray. Bake them in the oven at 350ºF (180ºC) for 20 mn or heat oil in a pan then fry till brown evenly and cooked.
I had a little bit of filling leftover and so I added some sliced zucchini, sliced carrots, sliced onions, and sliced red peppers and sauteed them in the pan with the leftover filling. Delicious!

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen a recipe like this! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete