This dish is served on Good Friday or during Holy Week, meaning the week where Christians commemorate the suffering of Christ. It is a week of fasting when meat is not allowed which is why this kibbeh recipe is vegetarian. These recipes are found all over Lebanon and use pumpkin, winter squash, potatoes, and roasted eggplant as meat substitutes. The fillings are usually some type of greens: dandelion and other wild herbs, swiss chard, or spinach. I substitute par-boiled quinoa for the burgul (cracked wheat) since I have to follow a gluten free diet.
1. Thoroughly wash greens and cut into thin slices. I use swisschard and spinach since I readily have them in my vegetable patch.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and lightly brown onions. Add garlic and greens. Saute till just wilted. Brown pine nuts separately and then add to filling. You can substitute slivered almonds for the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and 1 of sumac, dried mint. Add 3 cups of cooked chickpeas or two cans of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained. Set aside to cool.
3. The filling is now ready and we can proceed to make the bottom and top kibbeh dough.
4. Thouroughly rinse the burgul, or par-boil the quinoa and drain.
5. Mix with the roasted eggplant or cooked vegetables. You can find jarred roasted eggplant in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
6. Add the smashed boiled potatoes, sumac, cinnamon, pepper, dried mint, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add finely minced raw onions. Knead the mixture till dough is smooth.
7. Grease the bottom of a baking dish. Spread half of the vegetable and grain mixture evenly. Add cooled filling. Spread the rest of the dough on top. Score lightly in a diamond pattern. Dot the surface with ghee or butter.
8. Bake at 400 till golden brown. To serve, cut along scored lines. Serve with yogurt and cucumber salad or fatoosh.
Will you try a new recipe this lent?
four cups of fine burgul
1 medium sized pumkin or three good sized roasted eggplants, or one large summer squash
3 large boiled potatoes
one minced onion
1 Tablespoon Sumac, 2 T dried mint,
3 teaspoons 7 spice,
1 tsp cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch greens (5 cups thinly sliced leaves)
2 large onions
3 cloves garlic mashed with 2 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon or sumac
3 cups cooked garbanzo (2 cans drained)
pepper and cinnamon to taste
1/3 cup browned pine nuts or slivered almonds