A Little Forest

Basic Baked Kibbeh

Makes ~ 28 kibbeh / Serves 4 – 6


1 kg (35 oz) ground meat*

2 c (450 g) bulgur wheat

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 c (30 g) pine nuts

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

2 – 3 tsp cumin

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp tumeric

2 tbsp (30 g) sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

*Typically this is made with beef or lamb, however here I combined half lamb, half pork (yes)


  1. Soak the bulgur in 2 – 3 c (470 – 700 ml) water. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop the onions and sautee half of them in a pan with a dash of olive oil on medium heat until translucent, adding a little dash of salt and pepper.  When the onions are ready, add 1 clove crushed garlic, pine nuts, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and incorporate.  Then add half of the ground meat and cook through using a flat spatula to break up the meat as it cooks. Set aside once cooked.
  3. When the bulgur is ready the liquid should be all or mostly absorbed.  To the bulgar, add the remaining chopped onions, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, turmeric, sumac, sesame seeds, cumin, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  4. In a food processor or high power blender, add the bulgur mixture and remaining half of the meat. Combine until you have a thick, somewhat sticky dough-like paste.  If using a blender you can add a few spoonfuls of water to help things along but be sure not to make the mixture too wet. If using a blender I recommend doing this in two rounds and then combining, otherwise (as was the case for my crap blender) your blender motor will be unhappy.  I actually blended one half very wet with water and then the other more coarse without, and combined by hand.
  5. When you finish the bulgur/meat ‘dough’ mixture,  transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
  6. In a large cooking pan, spread a dash of olive oil and then place a piece of parchment paper on top. Add another tiny dash of olive oil on the parchment paper and spread around with your hands or a pastry brush.
  7. When the bulgur/meat dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and start forming your kibbeh. Kibbeh are traditionally fried and shaped like an American football.  I did neither. To fill, wet your hands with a tiny bit of water, and form a small ball of dough about the size of a golf ball or a little smaller. Put the ball in your hand and with your other hand, lightly press your thumb into the middle of the ball and slowly push out the sides of the dough to make something like a cup of the dough in your hand, with the dough not getting too thin on the sides.  Fill with a bit of the cooked meat filling. Start to close up the ball of dough but what you can do here to get the cone shape is take another small bit of dough and stick it on the bottom on the ‘cup’ of filled dough to seal.  Then use the palm of your hand to flatten and seal the kibbeh as you rotate the dough in a circular motion with your other hand, molding it into a cone shape.  Repeat until you’ve used all the dough. Warning, it’s tedious!  Daydream or turn on a podcast while shaping kibbeh.
  8. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on the prepared kibbeh and bake for ~ 30 minutes or until browned.


Reheated leftovers with tahina




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