Thursday, January 30, 2014

Comfort food: Kibbi

I find that cold weather requires comfort food more than warmer weather, and the more memories and meaning attached to the recipes, all the better to comfort.

First I have to tell you that this is not your grandma's meat loaf, no matter how it looks or you think it might taste. Unless of course, you share the same Irish grandmother taught by her own Lebanese mother in law as my husband has.

It's a Lebanese dish we call kibbi, (kibbeh, kibbe), the national dish of Lebanon and translates to mean ball. I remember Craig's grandmother padding the kibbi mixture into balls and frying in a pan to serve like a hamburger. Some times it is padded into small balls and deep fried. But the very best way to have it is stuffed with humpsa.
OK, this is a word I can not find consistent spelling, it is just what it is called.
pine nuts, pine nuts,
yummy, yummy pine nuts

First you make the humpsa.
This filling is good for many recipes, especially meat pies. 

Humpsa:
2 T butter (I use coconut oil now for this type cooking)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb
2 medium onion
1/2 tsp cinnamon (Craig remembers his family didn't use cinnamon. It is included in my original copy of the recipe, so i keep it included and I enjoy the flavor).
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp allspice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup pinenuts

Cook all together until done. Set aside to cool

Kibbi
2 lb. lean ground beef or lamb                   2 small onion, diced
2 c cracked wheat, No. 1 aka Bulgar           2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. basil leaves                                     1 tsp pepper

Wash wheat. (which means soak in water for at least thirty minutes before mixing). Grind meat with onion together, add salt, pepper and basil. Mix with wheat, run through grinder again. Mix well. Add about 1/4 cup cold water to have mixture easy to handle. Mix all kibbi ingredients together in a bowl. Grease/butter large casserole dish. Put half of the raw kibbi mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish, flattening down smooth. Now add the middle layer of humpsa into the kibbi. Then add the top layer of kibbi mixture.
Now is where my husband make designs on top of the kibbi and tops with melted butter. I usually just smooth down the top to be even. Bake 30-40 minutes at 375° until done.

Serve as main dish, or a sandwich with ketchup, and eat with a side of tabouli salad. Any way is fine, you will feel comforted.

If you have left over humpsa, use pizza dough or pillsbury rolls, add a spoon full of meat mixture, pinch corners, and bake as instructions indicate.  Yummy!

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