Today I’m sharing kibbeh bil sanieh (or baked kibbeh).
Kibbeh is essentially ground meat, bulgur wheat and onions. Syrians are known for their endless variations of kibbeh. It can be pressed in a pan, made into balls, baked, fried, grilled or (the best kind) eaten raw. In Aleppo, kibbeh is also made with a sumac sauce, and there’s another version with quince. I can honestly go on and on.
I LOVE kibbeh. It’s the ultimate comfort food for me. It helps that my mom is famous for her kibbeh (as her grandmother once was), and it was always available growing up. To this day, my mom makes sure to always have a batch of kibbeh ready when I come home. I realized recently that I’ve been taking her kibbeh making skills for granted, so I told myself that it’s finally time to learn this craft.
Making any form of kibbeh is a true labor of love. While the version I’m sharing today isn’t particularly time intensive, if mastered correctly, it provides a stepping stone for all the other kibbeh recipes out there.
My favorite way to eat kibbeh is with muhammara. When we were kids, we used to eat it as a quick snack between pita bread with a spread of labneh. Another popular way to eat it is with yogurt. Kibbeh is easily made in large batches and frozen for a meal in a pinch.
Kibbeh uses habra, which is finely minced meat with 0% fat. If your butcher can prepare your habra before any other meat fat has touched the blades, it’s preferred. Syrians have really close relationships with their butchers, and kibbeh is one of the many reasons why.
If you make it, don’t forget to put it in the comments and tag @omayahatassi and #omayahcooks on Instagram!
Without further ado…kibbeh bil sanieh (baked kibbeh)!
Kibbeh bil Sanieh (Baked Kibbeh)
Pressed kibbeh in a pan
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp 7 spices
Salt & pepper
1/4 c ghee
1 lb habra (0% fat ground beef)
2 ice cubes, plus more for ice water
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt, divided
Few grinds of black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 lb fine bulgur
1/2 c vegetable oil
- Make the filling by cooking the ground beef and breaking it up constantly until brown all the way through and no liquid remains. Season with 7 spices, salt and pepper. Allow to cool completely. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.
- Preheat the oven to 350 f. Prepare a 10 inch round roasting pan by spreading the ghee on the bottom.
- Combine the habra (ground beef), baking soda, salt, pepper and 2 ice cubes in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Clean out the bowl.
- Combine the bulgur wheat, onion and 1 tsp salt in the same bowl and process until combined. Add the meat and wheat mixtures in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium high until combined, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a small bowl of ice water.
- When kibbeh is ready, tip onto a tray and place next to your workspace. Dip your hands in the ice water, take a handful of kibbeh, flatten between your palms and spread on the bottom of the prepared baking round until 1/8 inch thick. Repeat until the bottom is fully covered.
- Spread the filling on top of the bottom layer evenly. Add pine nuts and press into the bottom layer.
- Begin forming the top layer by dipping your hands into the ice water and taking a handful of kibbeh. Press between your palms until about 1/4 inch thick. Start adding kibbeh on top of the filling in pieces, starting from the edges and working your way in. Be sure to fill in any gaps with kibbeh.
- Dip hands in ice water and slap the kibbeh together so that the layers adhere to each other. Dip your hands again and smooth the top layer, making sure it's even.
- Cut your round into eighths, making sure your knife goes all the way through. Next, make cross hatches by scoring, being sure not to cut through the top layer. Start parallel to one edge of a triangle and score evenly through the triangle and move the pan clockwise. Once you have made a full circle, repeat counterclockwise to make crosshatches.
- Top with vegetable oil. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned. Allow to cool and cut through the triangles to remove from the pan.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with muhammara or yogurt. Store in the fridge up to 4-5 days, in the freezer up to 3 months.