I am a fan of Lebanese food – have noshed out on bucket loads of vine leaf rolls and hummus in my time (oooh, fighting words, I know – do you have an opinion on hummus origins or method?). I recently came across a vegetarian Kibbeh and was keen to try a variation on that theme at home. Kibbeh are traditionally made with a burghul and mince or meat paste 'shell' that is stuffed with more meat, onion and pine nuts, and shaped like a croquette - kind of like a scotch egg but without the eggy centre (how’s that for cross-cultural comparisons?)
My version keeps the burghul (cracked wheat) but replaces the meat with mashed potato. Pumpkin or another mashed vegetable might work as well. I made mine as a flat dish, like a traditional kibbeh b'sinneyeh, rather than individual croquettes or 'torpedos' because daycare days are not the time for faffing about with dinner.
For the “shell” I used:
- 1 cup of burghul (cracked wheat) – soaked in cold water for an hour and drained
- 4 med potatoes – cooked and mashed
- Parsley – chopped fine
- Cumin, allspice, salt & pepper – to taste
Mix all these together, and layer ½ the mixture over a greased ovenproof dish or tin. On top of that layer I added the following mixture:
- Two large brown onions, thinly sliced and slowly caramelised over about 15 minutes
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, to help the onion along after 10 minutes
- Roasted red peppers, chopped
- Handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
- Toasted pine nuts (or almonds or walnuts, chopped)
- Squish of lemon juice
After smoothing this over my base layer, I added the rest of the potato/burghul mixture to the top. A quick drizzle of oil and then it’s into a 180-200 degree oven for 20-30mins. I wanted it extra crispy so went the full 30 minutes (but kept an eye on it so the edges didn’t burn).
I was losing my light so it's not the prettiest food picture I've ever taken, but served with a soft/crisp fattoush, this baby was delish. Even Lovely Husband approved.
Are you a Lebanese food fan? We used to live on a road with so many Lebanese, Turkish and Greek restaurants and takeaways and the local supermarket sold the best baba ghannouj of all time. Living there was heaven and hell at the same time.