Growing up, José's family would eat Lebanese food on Sundays. Although they loved the food, they would find ways to simplify the recipe or make it a bit lighter than his grandparents, who were originally from Lebanon, had made. That's how baked kibbeh became a staple for them. One day when he was making this for us, he made a mistake in the layering and ended up rolling the kibbeh. Although at first it was a total accident, we ended up loving it and have made this rolled kibbeh several times since.
1 cup fine bulgur wheat
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tbsp salt
1lb ground beef, divided in two
2 tbsp baharat
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 onion, quartered
3 small eggplants
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
1 small cucumber, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp dried mint
6 cups romaine lettuce
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cumin
Place the bulgur in a large bowl covered in water to soak for an hour. Set oven to broil. Mix the ingredients for the baharat spice mix. You'll have leftover mix that you can use in the future.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplants whole on the sheet. Place into the oven and char the outsides of the eggplant. Leave until the eggplant is fully cooked through and the skin is a bit charred. Once the eggplant is fully cooked, remove from the oven and turn the oven to 350°F.
Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the diced onion until they begin to brown. Add the pine nuts and cook until they are lightly golden brown. Add half of the ground beef and cook for around 8 minutes until it browns well. Stir in 1 tbsp baharat and season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat.
Place the quartered onions into a blender with half a cup water and blend until liquid. Drain the bulgur and add it in bit by bit until smooth. A little texture is fine, but overall you want it to be a paste. Add the remaining 1 tbsp baharat, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon and blend. Pour into a bowl and add the other half of the ground beef. Mix well until a homogenous paste-like mixture forms. Season with salt.
Place parchment paper down on the counter. Spread a large rectangle with the kibbeh paste onto the rectangle. Layer the minced meat and pine nut mixture on top and roll into a large log, using the parchment paper to help. You can simply use the same parchment paper and line the baking tray with it. Place in the 350°F oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
For the yogurt sauce, mix the ingredients and set aside. To plate, slice the kibbeh loaf into 8 slices and place two slices on each plate. Serve with a side of turnip pickles and the romaine lettuce. Top with the yogurt sauce and a little chile flakes.
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- Julia Feld