Friday, February 4, 2011


Kibbeh Picnik collage 3 bis
Lebanon. This name sounds very poetic, don't you think? Pronounce this unique, bewitching word and you'll get me phantasizing about refined and dreamlike dishes with exhalirating aromas and fragrant perfumes, antique temples still standing triumphantly even when in ruin, glorious ancient empires full of mystique (Phoenician, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, Roman & Byzantine), busy markets with stalls exploding with fresh veggies, fruits, spices, dried fruits and exquisite desserts, gorgeous sunny landscapes, snowy mountain tops, flat desertic plains, luscious pine tree forests and postcard-like coastlines, small coffee shops and restaurants crowded with men and women casually enjoying a delightful meals and sipping on their coffees or arak, and hospitable as well as frindly people who open the doors of their homes to visitors and happily share their meal with you. All of that might not be very accurate or the same in reality, but it is nonetheless what this complex country inspires me...

One thing I am sure of though is that the Lebanese rich gastronomic traditions have a lot to offer for gourmets like me and there is no doubt about the reasons why this place's cuisine is venerated all around the world. It's deliciousness is incomparable. Absolutely no myth here. If you already know the century-old Lebanese cuisine, then you know that I'm not lying and if you have never tasted it, well I can only assure you that you must immediately remedy this situation as you most likely have missed out on a fabulous experience.

Every time I plan to prepare a yummy dish for the weekend, I in
variably pick up one of my Middle Eastern cookooks and leaf through it's page while drooling. For me, that kind of is synonymous of culinary enlightment and extreme epicurian pleasure. I am constantly amazed by the recipes hailing from that region of the globe. But there is no mystery to why I am attracted to such wonderful exotic eats. I am crazy about spices, lamb, poultry, pilafs, mezze, dips, sticky and nutty desserts, flat breads and bulghur. Such goodies have a drug-like effect on me.

Being a really well-organized foodie who behaves like a squirrel (a stock freak) I always make sure that my cupboards and freezer are garnished with a vast array of ingredients (tons of spices, grains, legumes, pastes, sauces, herbs, cans, meat, etc..). In that way, it leaves me the opportnity to cook or bake more or less anything I want without having to run out to the supermarket.

As my pantry is a treasure trove just like Ali-Baba's cave and it hides many gems, I had no problem putting together one of Lebanon's national dishes, a "Kibbeh" that I had spotted in Claudia Roden's excellent book "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon". Thanks to my tendency to accumulate goods I had everything at hand. The ground lamb meat was in the freezer, a bag of pine nuts that needed to get used was sitting on my dried fruit shelf, a bottle of pomegranate molasses was carefully kept in the sauce section of the counter next to the oven, a packet of bulghur was stocked in my IKEA cart and both the cinnamon as well as the allspice were waiting for me in the spice cabinet. Perfect!

The name "Kibbeh" derives from the Arabic word "kubbah" meaning "ball". This delicacy is one of the Levantine cuisine's most
widespread dishes and can be found in Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, the Arabian Penninsula, Armenia, Israel, Latin America (Brazil,Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras or Mexico - imported by the Syrian & Lebanese dispora) and Cyprus. This course is made with bulghur (sometimes even with rice), meat (also fish, pumpkin or potatoes) and spices. There are different varieties (vegetarian, balls, oval-shaped, patties that are either baked, cooked in broth, yoghurt, bitter orange juice or fried and there's even one version that is very similar to tartare and consists of raw meat), but the most common of them is the torpedo-shaped croquettes that are stuffed with minced beef or lamb and are deep-fried.

Making "Baked Kibbeh" for the first time was no big deal for me, thanks to my food processor and my years of experimenting with cooking. The preparation required no particular skill and was not messy, long nor complex. It was quite straightforward and idiotproof, but what came out of the oven was far from being plain or simple.

With it's complex and refined flavors, this Middle-Eastern meatloaf is extremely palatable. The meat base is soft, moist and meatilicious, and is crowned a sweet, sour, savory onion and pinenut topping. This "Baked Kibbeh" can be served hot or at room temperature as a mezze (cut in small pieces) or main dish, and makes a grandiose potluck or picnic dish that will be wolfed by adults and kids alike. With the leftovers you can even create a scrummy sandwich (use pita, fattoush breads or baguette Parisienne and add the spread of your choice - yoghurt, "Tarrator Sauce", "Baba Ganoush" or "Hummus").

Kibbeh Picnik collage 4 bis
~ Kibbeh Saniyeh ~
Recipe adapted from "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon" by Claudia Roden.

Serves 4.

Ingredients For The "Baked Kibbeh" Base:

2/3 Cup (160g) Fine-ground bulgur
1 Medium white onion, cut into quarters
1 Pound (500g) Lean ground lamb (lean & boneless cubed leg of lamb)
1 Tsp Sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1+1 Tbs Vegetable oil (to grease the pan and the top of the kibbeh)
Ingredients For The "Onion & Pine Nut Topping":

1 Pound (500g) White onions, sliced (half-moon)
3 Tbs Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 Cup (50g) Pine nuts
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/3 Tsp Ground allspice
3 Tbs Pomegranate molasses
Method For The "Baked Kibbeh" Base:
1. Cover the bulgur with water and let rest 10 minutes. Drain well.
2. In a food processor, purée the onion, then add the meat, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Blend to a fine paste.
3. Add the drained bulgur and blend again in order to get a smooth, homogenous a
nd soft paste.
4. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F). Oil a 26cm (10inch) diameter tart pan/dish and then press the paste into the bottom of the pan/dish with your hands.
5. Flatten and sm
ooth the top. Rub with 1 tablespoons oil.
6. With a pointed knife, cut the kibbeh into 6 wedges through the center, and run the knif
e around the edges of the dish to release them.
7. Bake the kibbeh in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until browned.

Kibbeh 4 copy bis
Method For The "Topping":
8. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the olive oil until they are golden brown, stirring often.
9. Add the pine nuts. Stir-fry until lightly golden.
10. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the cinnamon, allspice and the pomegranate molasses.
11. Continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute.
12. Spread the onion mixture over the top of the kibbeh and serve.


You can replace the pinenuts by 2/3 cup (90g) shelled walnuts, broken into pieces.
If you wish, you can also add 2 tablespoons raisins that have been previously soaked in water for 15 mi
nutes and drained (in case you are using the raisins, ommit the pomegranate molasses) or add 1 tablespoon sumac to the onion topping (then ommit the pomegranate molasses).

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot or at room temperature, alone or with a salad, a dollop thick yoghurt,
"Tarrator Sauce", "Baba Ganoush" or "Hummus".


Kibbeh Picnik collage 2 bis
~ Kibbeh Au Four ~
Recette tirée et adaptée du livre "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon" de Claudia Roden.

Pour 4 personnes.

Ingrédients Pour le "Kibbeh":

160g de Boulghour fin
1 Onion blanc (moyen), coupé en quatre
500g de Viande d'agneau hachée maigre (ou du gigot d'agneau désossé et coupé en cubes)
1 CC de Sel de mer
Poivre noir moulu, selon goût
1 1/2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1+1 Cs d'Huile végétale
Ingrédients Pour La "Garniture Aux Oingons":

500g d'Oignons blancs, coupés en demi-lune
3 CS d'Huile d'olive extra vierge
50g de Pignons de pin
Sel de mer, selon goût
Poivre noir moulu, selon goût

1/2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1/3 de Tout-épice en poudre
3 CS de Mélasse de grenade

Méthode Pour le "Kibbeh":
1. Recouvrir le boulghour avec de l'eau et mettre de côté pendant 10 minutes. Bien égoutter.
2. Dans
un mixer, réduire l'oignon en purrée, puis ajouter la viande, le sel, le poivre et la cannelle. Mixer afin d'obtenir une sorte de pâte.
3. Ajouter le boulghour égoutté et mixer à nouveau afin d'obtenir une pâte collante, homogène et fine.
4. Préchauffer le four à 190° C. Huiler un moule à tarte de 26cm et presser (avec les mains) la pâte dans le moule.
5. Bien applatir et lisser le dessus. Peindre avec 1 CS d'huile.
6. A l'aid
e d'un couteau pointu, couper le kibbeh en 6 tranches égales (comme pour une tarte) et passer le couteau dans les bords afin de les libérer.
7. Cuire le kibbeh dans le four préchauffé pendant 30-40 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'il soir doré.

Kibbeh Picnik collage 5 bis
Méthode Pour La "Garniture Aux Oingons":
8. Pendant ce temps, faire frire les oignons dans l'huile d'olive tout en remuant de temps à autre,
9. Ajouter les pignons de pin. Continuer à cuire jusqu'à ce que les pignons soient dorés.
10. Saler et poivrer, puis ajouter la cannelle, le tout-épice et la mélasse.
11. Cuire encore penadant 1 minute tout en remuant.
12. Etaler la garniture sur le dessus du kibbeh et servir.

Au lieu d'utiliser des pignons de pins, vous pouvez préparer ce plat avec 90g de noix , grossièrement concassées.
La garniture peut aussi être faite avec 2 CS de raisins secs qui ont été trempés pendant 15 minutes et égouttés avant utilisation (dans ce cas, omettez la mélasse
) ou bien il vous est aussi possible d'ajouter 1 CS de sumac (dans ce cas aussi, omettez aussi la mélasse).

Idées de présentation:
Servir chaud ou à température ambiante et accompagner avec une salade ou du yaourt à la grecque, du
"Baba Ganoush" ou du "Hummus"..

Kibbeh Picnik collage 1 bis


  1. My favorite thing to eat. I have that book too Rosa. I love it. Will make this as well. Have a wonderful and happy weekend!

  2. Il a l'air parfait ton kibbeh! Bravo ! Tu me donnes tellement le gout d'en manger !!

  3. Kibbeh is one of my favorite Lebanese dishes. Although I adore Lebanese food, beyond fattoush, I've never tried making it at home! I'm lucky that I live in Dubai and have all these teriific Middle Eastern dishes are on my doorstep. I even visited a baklava factory today!!

  4. I can only imagine how delicious this would be and so fragrant with all the spices! I LOVE pomegranate molasses in anything!

  5. In my family we make saynniyeh with inside or outside round beef. Instead of having a topping, we have a filling and put another layer of kibbeh on top of the mixture of sauteed pinenuts, feta cheese, and onions.

    I love it, it's one of my favourite dishes.

  6. Rosa we really love kibbeh, my mother in lwa was from Lebanon and hubby love this dish. I will try your recipe look delicious and awesome!,, have a lovely weekend! x gloria

  7. Gimme Kibbeh!

    Rosa, my grandmother was from Lebanon, and she often made this flavorful dish for my brother and me.

    When she passed away, I found myself missing her, and her wonderful cooking. So much so, that I taught myself to make many of her dishes.

    Your post has brought back so many memories. And, as usual, your photos have made me very hungry!

  8. I've seen this elsewhere and keep saying I want to try it but never do. You've presented it so beautifully here.

  9. So beautiful and I'm sure delicious too with all those pine nuts! I can relate to being "squirrel" like. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Wow Rosa, I was soooo happy reading this post about my country. You should visit Lebanon some time soon!
    Kibbe is one of my favorite dishes and your looks absolutely delicious!!

  11. Pas fan de boulgour, voilà pourtant une recette qui me plaît; J'adore venir ici, pour sa musique, ces couleurs, ces recettes originales et sa langue. L'anglais et moi ne faisons pas très bon ménage mais je m'accroche.

  12. I never had Kibbeh ... sounds very exotic...Your photos are deliciously beautiful...:)

  13. I'm feeling hungry now thanks to you. Yes, the word "Lebanon" conjures up exotic images from faraway lands full of wonderful things. I love your passion for Middle Eastern cuisine and this recipe. Have a great weekend!

  14. Interessantes Gericht, gehört davon, aber noch nie gegessen.

  15. I want some! I thought kibbeh was always raw - we learn something new everyday:) Looks really nice. If I didn't read the details I could easily mistake it for chocolate cheesecake with dried fruit and nut topping:)

  16. Voilà une destination et une cuisine que je connais peu (à part quelques restaurants libanais)... tu me donnes envie! A mettre sur ma "to do list"! Bises...

  17. Ouah mais quelle recette originale!
    Je craque pour la garniture aux oignons! :P

  18. Absolutely delish..wish to have a slice.. Nice recipe as well. Asusual the pictures are real treat to our eyes.

  19. Pour moi aussi, c'est une cuisine inconnue mais au vu des ingrédients, tout me plait..!
    Bon WE et bisous

  20. It looks absolutely delicious! I don't know much of Lebanon cuisine but this really looks tempting! I love the pine nuts and onion topping!

  21. The kibbeh looks amazing...I love pomegranate mollases!

  22. You make me feel so hungry! Kibbeh is new to me and I am totally tempted by its gorgeous looking!

  23. You have made kibbeh ook like a pecan pie..yum yum ! My mouth is watering reading those ingredients!

  24. une recette vraiment tres originale que tu nous presentes

  25. Tiens, je ne connaissais pas non plus ce plat. Et ça m'a vraiment l'air fameux. Si j'avais été dans le coin, je me serai volontiers invité à ta table :P

  26. A baked kibbeh sounds so much easier than forming individual pieces. I like that! The caramelized onion and pine nut topping looks delicious too.

  27. Those toasted pine nuts on the top look so enticing...besides - I love lamb!

  28. Yum! I am really intruiged by the idea of pomegranite molasses.

  29. High five! I always make sure that I stock up my pantry well because I hate the fact that when I am halfway through something, an ingredient is MISSING. T_T

  30. Yes, I want some. Gosh your pantry is well-stocked. Mine would be too if only I had the room :(

  31. Such a great post. I'm thinking I need to do better at getting a treasure trove in my pantry. I thought this gorgeous dish was a dessert and was so surprised to read it was an amazing meat loaf.

  32. Yummy, that sounds good! ... and reminds me of a small lebanese cookbook in my shelf, in which I definitely should have a look soon.

  33. Koupes as we call them in Cyprus is one of my favourite. Your looks delicious.

  34. This may very well be the best looking kibbeh I've see. Love the caramelized onions and pine nuts on top. Bravo!

  35. Wow Rosa, to kibbeh est superbe et il a l'air délicieux en tous points!

  36. Rosa, this topping is so rich! beautiful..

  37. This is something I've never heard of, but it sure does sound delicious!

  38. I sure wish I could have these fantasies about Lebanon! I enjoyed reading them! :)
    i have been an admirer of claudia Roden for decades, her background is similar to my dad who also grew up in Egypt; my friend Kamal Mouzawak in Lebanon met her and adored her.
    Anyway, I have seen this recipe in her book and want to point out that the addition of pomegranate molasses is a Syrian touch (from Damascus) that was adopted in lebanon. Your kibbeh is a magnificent and perfectly executed.

  39. this is poetic-sounding, indeed. i'd love to have a taste. ;-)

  40. Claudia Roden is one of my all time favorite cookbook authors. I just enjoy reading her books, I learn SO much! Somehow I missed this recipe, what a delightful find!

  41. I don't eat meat but I love the flavors, look, and idea of this kibbeh. Thanks for introducing me to delightful new dishes from across the world, Rosa!

  42. What a distinct flavour, Lebanese food is definitely one of the best one can fin anywhere in the world.
    Awesome work ♥

  43. Rosa, this makes me want to go to Lebanon but first stop by your neighborhood to see where you find all your inspiration for your beautiful photographs;-)

  44. Great to learn more about Lebanese cuisine and kibbeh - it looks wonderfully delicious!

  45. que c'est joliment présenté, j'aime beaucoup l'idée,
    une belle recette à noter !
    @ bientôt
    val de familyblog

  46. que de saveurs ...ça à l'air trop bon !!!: Magnifiques photos :)

  47. J'aime beaucoup cette cuisine remplie de soleil. Encore une fois, J'apprends pleins de choses chez toi.
    Bonne fin de week-end

  48. Looks delicious Rosa! I am a BIG fan of Lebanese food!

  49. you make everything look so beautiful and worth indulging. The kibbeh looks wonderful. Lebanese cuisine and to die for and this version does match up to the traditional reputation. LOVE the photograph of the pom molasses.

  50. A beautiful kibbeh, Rosa! I loved reading about your enthusiasm for Middle Eastern cooking. I am not very familiar with it and enjoyed reading this post. This kibbeh recipe is not intimidating and I'd love to try it.
    The cookbook sounds wonderful.

  51. I am a HUGE fan of Lebanese food, Rosa. Your meal looks extraordinarily delicious. Yes, I'm hungry and YES I would like some, please...

    P.S. I dream of having your pantry one day...

  52. Ça, c'est une vraie tuerie. j'adore les kibbeh. J'en faisais un à la pomme de terre, cuit au four aussi ... C'était divin. Il ne me reste plus qu'à essayer celui-là !

  53. When is the next train to Switzerland? I must try that !!!

  54. Je ne connaissais pas, ça m'a l'air délicieux!
    Bises et bonne semaine.

  55. I've known the kibbeh for ages( Friends of mine are from Lebanon) They made a kibbeh more "crunchy" I would like to taste yours. This i a good idea to join a crunchy topping. As usual your pictures are so dreamy. Thanks.

  56. what is prettier? The symphony of spice uses in the recipe, or your photos... BOTH!

  57. it is so pretty, such a desireable piece! I want to it right away Rosa! :)

  58. I was given a copy for Arabesque for my birthday recently from my good friend in England. I am in love with this book and cannot wait to get started. My great uncle is from Lebanon so over the years I had been introduced to the cuisine and really have enjoyed it. I hope to throw him an Lebanese dinner party soon. This gorgeous dish might just make it onto the table as well. Lovely!

  59. I love kibbeh in any form! Your baked version looks fantastic -- and so much healthier than the fried little torpedo-shaped variety! (Which are of course also delicious though, lol!) :)

  60. Rosa, love your kibbeh, specially with the topping...I had so many versions of kibbeh, and yet have to try with topping...looks delicious...and your pictures are always to pretty :-)

  61. Rosa, this post reminded me of the opportunity as a young adult to enjoy many meals with an Iranian family, that woke-up my flavors to the complex and flavorful tastes of Middle Eastern food. A food rich in tradition and culture.

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. If you ever want to submit one of your photos for my Wordless Wednesday post, I would love it.

  62. I've had kibbeh before, but never in this torte-like version. Love how it looks this way.

  63. Lebanese cuisine is delightful and you have done an amazing job showcasing this delightful dish...such flavors!

  64. That looks like a lot of work but completely worth the effort! :)

  65. a baked kibbeh, how tempting..I love the topping full of flavor, perfect for the winter chill


  66. I want this kibbeh right now AND that book. Thanks for sharing such exciting, exotic flavors with us!

  67. I've never had kibbeh and possibly never tried any Lebanese dishes. How shocking! Thanks for introducing this culinary icon, and I love that your kitchen is like alibaba's cave... a wonder of riches indeed!

  68. Oh wow, that looks amazing Rosa! I was looking for a recipe involving pomegranate in some form and I'm definitely gonna give this one a try!
    Thanks for sharing!

  69. Beautiful pictures, Rosa.
    Being a vegetarian I guess I can only look and admire, but I must say, it sounds great and I can see why people love it :)

  70. Merci de nous faire découvrir cette merveilleuse recette !! Bonnes semaine, bises

  71. Très belle recette ! je connaissais les kebes syriens absolument divin et la melasse de grenade que j'utilise de temps en temps... Cette forme de gâteau plei d'épices et fruits secs ma plaît beaucoup aussi... bises et à très bientôt... j'ai commandé l'incisette !!

  72. Merveilleuse recette! Bonne journée.

  73. hi rosa, this looks so lovely! beautifully done sweetie. thanks for sharing this. *hugs*

  74. I've always adapted Lebanese ingredients into my sometimes eclectic cuisine...however, I've never prepared a truly authentic Lebanese dish.
    We have fabulous eateries that treat us with this great cuisine and therefore a good reason to go out to eat once and a while.
    I already spend way too much time in the kitchen ;)

    Love that this recipe is baked.
    Rosa...Thanks for sharing all your wisdom in the kitchen ;o)


  75. It looks like dessert. Love it, I have wanted to make a savory lamb crumble for ages and here is how to do it. Thanks

  76. This looks so beautiful! I can just imagine th flavors. Wonderful job!

  77. Wow, Rosa, I really need to try this, it looks delicious. Would be lovely for one of our train parties. I need to find pomegranate molasses now, I am afraid.
    I love the word "idiotproof" :)
    Have a lovely wednesday!

  78. i don't think we eat enough bulgur in this part of the world--it's a great grain! lebanese flavors are something i really enjoy--great post!

  79. At first I thought this was a sweet cake! Soooo wrong. Looks delsh and filled with flavor. I too love Middle Eastern cuisine.

  80. Une version de Kibbeh originale ! Merci pour ton joli billet ;-)

  81. I am so making this soon. The photos just made me so hungary. What an amazing looking dish and that you so much for sharing with us.

  82. My father lived with an Iranian family while he college and developed a real love of Middle Eastern food, especially kibbeh! We ate a lot of it growing up, but I have never seen it look so fancy before. It's a whole new face to kibbeh that I've never seen! Well done!

  83. pomegranate molasses, and actually all things pomegranate now that i thinnk about it, are near and dear to my persian heart. little reminders of home. this recipe is getting bookmarked. cheers-

  84. Hi, Rosa! I had never heard about kibbeh until I came across your blog and your recipe. I was so much fascinated by your baked kibbeh that I couldn't wait for too long to make it. We had it for lunch yesterday. I thought it was going to be more complex to make, but it's so easy!

    I made some changes since it's impossible to find pomegranate molasses in here and this fruit is out of season now. So I made caramelised onion and the result was fantastic.

    Thanks a lot for the recipe and for your lovely picts. In a short while, my baked kibbed will be published in my blog.