Saturday, February 20, 2016

Kibbeh Meatballs with Tahini Parsley sauce

I'm a huge fan of Lebanese cooking, but a lot of the recipes I've inherited from the Lebanese side of the family seem to assume that you have days to prepare. Kibbeh, the delicious Lebanese-style meatloaf with ground lamb and pine nuts, for example, takes hours and includes instructions for dousing your hands in iced water as you go. Last night, because I like to do things at the last minute, I made oven-baked meatballs which worked rather well as an approximation of kibbeh. Serve with lebanese rice with vermicelli, a fatoush salad, and tahini parsley sauce. These are easy-peasy and take about 15 minutes in the oven.

Roast Chicken Legs with Za'atar and Kibbeh Meatballs

For the Kibbeh Meatballs
2 lbs ground lamb
1 cup fine bulgur (soaked)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
salt (don't be afraid of salt)
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts
an egg

Set oven to 350F. Combine ingredients in a large bowl using your hands, and shape small balls (about the size of golf balls). Roll them between your palms (it's marvelously meditative and place on a cookie sheet cover with foil and a spritz of olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes.

For the tahini parsley sauce (adapted from Anissa Helou's Lebanese Cuisine)
1/2 cup (give or take) tahini
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
7-8 tblspns water
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smushed
1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped

Put tahini in a bowl and slowly stir in lemon and water, slowly. Paste will thicken quickly and then thin out, to the consistency of runny yogurt. Add liquid as you see fit. Stir in parsley, garlic, salt and taste.

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