|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
1-2 lbs. ground lamb or ground sirloin (have your butcher grind the meat 3 times)
2-3 c. bulghur wheat (can be bought in most stores; it is cracked wheat)
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (Pompeii)
Soak bulghur wheat in warm tap water for 15-20 minutes.
After soaking squeeze all water out of wheat and place in very large mixing bowl. Begin to knead and work the wheat by hand until it takes a paste form. A way to determine if it is fully worked is to taste a bit. If it still is hard then continue working (if it should become dry add little bits of water during kneading process, but be careful not to over soak). When mixture is to right consistency, add meat. Continue to knead and work together until both are fully blended. While working mixture together add olive oil little by little until used. Mixture is complete when it takes on the consistency of a thick paste. Blend in salt and pepper to taste.
A note and interesting fact: Tradition has it that only men can blend the raw Kibbee mixture. First each ingredient is blessed and a cross made in each before they are worked by hand. So much for tradition, but a helpful hint, place a towel on the seat of a chair and place mixing bowl on that, working each mixture. Making Kibbee takes a lot of strength and endurance, and the time spent bending over the pan is somewhat tiring. It is advised that if you have a large stainless steel pan, that you use this rather than a glass bowl. Maybe the women were smart in letting the men have the task of mixing the Kibbee before cooking or eating since it is a back aching experience.
PREPARATION OF KIBBEE:
TRADITIONAL: The entire mixture is pressed together tightly and mounded on the center of a large dish. A shallow area is formed at the top and filled with olive oil, and heavily peppered (preferably cracked pepper). Large Bermuda or Vidalia Onions are sliced into rings and placed around dish. Serve with; Pita Bread. Diners simply eat the Kibbee by hand or by dipping bread and mixture together. This way is ideally suited for those who also like Steak Tartar.
COOKED VARIATIONS: The easiest way to cook Kibbee is: Place a 1/2 to 3/4 inch layer of the mixture in the bottom of a 9x12 or 10x13 pyrex dish that has been coated with olive oil. Between the mixtures place a small layer of fried lamb or sirloin and green onion mixture. Place a final layer as above over the top. Cut the pre-cooked meat into diamond shapes (diagonal) completely through to bottom. Pour 1 stick of melted butter over top. Place in 350 degree oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until thoroughly cooked.
A second version is to take a handful of the mixture and form into the equivalent of a hamburger patty. Place a mixture of fried lamb or sirloin on top of this. Sprinkle 3 to 4 pine nuts over this and some finely chopped fresh parsley. Form another hamburger patty and place on top. Crimp edges together to seal. Place on baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil and bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until thoroughly cooked.
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