Kibbeh, a masterpiece of Middle Eastern cooking with many variations, can be baked, poached, steamed, or fried. This is a distinctly Syrian Jewish version.
Yield: serves 6
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 cup fine-grain bulgur wheat
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 3⁄4 cup flour
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 1⁄2 lb. ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
- 1 tbsp. ground allspice
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1⁄2 cup pine nuts
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate (about 1 cup)
- To make the crust, place bulgur wheat in a large bowl, add 1 cup water, and set aside for 5 minutes. Drain bulgur wheat and return to bowl. Add 1 cup warm water, salt, 1 tbsp. oil, cumin, and flour. Mix well and set aside.
- To make the filling, brown beef in a large skillet, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, combine tamarind with 1⁄4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Mix well, then add to beef mixture. Add allspice, lemon juice, walnuts, pine nuts, sugar, and pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is almost dry, 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Using your fingers, press half the crust mixture into an oiled 10″ pie plate. Evenly spread filling over crust, then, first with your fingers and then with the back of a spoon, spread remaining crust mixture over filling. Brush crust with remaining 1 tbsp. oil and bake pie until crust is golden, 35-40 minutes. Slice and serve warm.