My son came to visit from New Jersey and I wanted to make him some of his favorite dishes one of which is Kibbeh Nayeh a very special Lebanese dish.
What makes this dish so special is that it is made with raw, lean 100% lean ground meat, fine bulgur, kibbeh spices, and olive oil.
Kibbeh is the national dish of Lebanon & takes center stage at any gathering. It’s made with goat meat or lamb. Frakhe‘ is another name for kibbeh that is made in South Lebanon and is made with beef . Kibbeh and Frakhe’ both served with fresh mint, white onions, radishes and slices of tomato. Arak is a Lebanese drink made from grapes & anise, it goes very well with the meal.
I know what you are thinking, RAW MEAT! Well, don’t shun the idea, lots of people eat sushi or steak tartare, and if you like such dishes, I think you’ll enjoy Kibbeh. Kibbeh Nayeh is a Lebanese delicacy and it’s worth trying. So, if you go to a Lebanese restaurant and it’s on the menu, please order Kibbeh and try it.
When making kibbeh I usually eyeball how much bulgur to meat ratio. For instance 1 lbs of fat free lean ground meat I would use about 1 cup of bulgur or you can add a bit more than 1 cup or as you like.
First, place the bulgur in a shallow dish, then add in olive oil(about 1/4 cup), or you can soak it with cold water instead of oil if you are counting calories, but I do prefer the olive oil for it’s great taste. Add in the oil to the fine bulgur , then set aside. Meanwhile, put the ground beef or lamb into a food processor, pulse a few times, add in 1 to 2 pieces of ice, this step is important because it will help the meat to become moist and sticky, process until smooth and creamy ground meat.
Remove the meat, then add it to the bulgur and mix together, add ice water in your palm or as needed, be careful not to over do it, just use enough to mix it. Add the kibbeh spices, dry mint is optional, some don’t use dry mint, but I like it with the kibbeh, the salt. Mix well, when it holds together, plate your kibbeh , buy using a spoon and gently drag the spoon to make small indentations drizzle olive oil and serve.
Even though I made many dishes for my son, I have to say the best dish all of us enjoyed was Kibbeh, I served it with tabbouleh, Baba Ghannouj, Hummus and of course Arak.
I hope you make it for your family and friends.
Chef’s note: you can add a small grated onion if you like to the bulgur.