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Ben and Natalie’s “First-Time” Kibbeh, Two Ways


Each dish serves 6–8.

*Note from the Health Department: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness

Fairly difficult

Ben and Natalie’s “First-Time” Kibbeh, Two Ways


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, diced
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoons salt


  • 1 cups pine nuts or blanched slivered almonds
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 1 pounds ground lamb or beef
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 2 teaspoons allspice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, divided
  • 1 cups bulgur
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb (ask your butcher for completely denuded meat, free of fat or sinew)
  • 1 white onion, chopped

Ben and Natalie’s “First-Time” Kibbeh, Two Ways Directions

  1. For the cucumber sauce: Mix together all of the ingredients and chill.
  2. To make the baked kibbeh: Toast the nuts in a dry skillet and set aside.
  3. Coat a hot skillet with olive oil, add the diced onions and cook until they soften and begin to become translucent.
  4. Add the ground meat and a pinch each of the salt, cinnamon, allspice and cumin, then brown for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Add the nuts and continue to cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Strain off the fat and set aside.
  6. Heat the oven to 350°. Cover the bulgur in water and soak.
  7. Mince the leg of lamb by hand or with a meat grinder.
  8. Pour the bulgur into a fine mesh strainer and press out as much water as possible.
  9. Place the minced lamb, bulgur, chopped onion and the rest of the spices into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. (Do it in batches, if needed.)
  10. Adjust the seasoning to taste* (you can taste it raw IF you bought fresh, high-quality lamb), using more seasoning in this mixture than in the sautéed lamb.
  11. Coat a 14-inch baking dish with olive oil (a round pan is preferable). Make a thin layer of lamb and bulgur mixture on the bottom and sides of the dish, like a pie crust. Place a layer of the sautéed lamb and onion mixture over the crust. Top with another layer of lamb and bulgur mixture—using your fingers to flatten the meat across the top.
  12. Use a butter knife to cut pie slices and then a crosshatch pattern (try to only cut through the top layer).
  13. Make a ¼-inch hole in the center with your finger. (This helps it cook evenly and makes it easier to serve.)
  14. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top.
  15. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and crispy. Serve with the cucumber sauce.
  16. To make the raw kibbeh*: Use approximately 1 cup of the raw lamb and bulgur mixture and add an additional ¼-cup soaked bulgur.
  17. Top with a small amount of the sautéed lamb and onion mixture and serve with pita bread, raw scallions and radishes.

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