Beef Kibbeh | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Beef Kibbeh

Beef Kibbeh

50 minutes 20 minutes active

Beef Kibbeh

Free

Kibbeh, a popular dish throughout the Levant, is a spiced mixture of bulgur and ground meat. It may be layered with stuffing in a baking dish and baked or shaped into small portions, filled and fried, with the goal of getting a toasty, browned crust that brings out the nuttiness of the bulgur. In this version, we skip the stuffing and form the mixture into patties, then pan-fry them, rather than deep-fry, for ease. We use ground beef, but you could sub in 12 ounces of ground lamb. Pine nuts add their distinct, slightly resinous flavor to the mix. Toast them in a small skillet over medium-low, shaking the pan frequently, until light golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Serve the kibbeh, yogurt-tahini sauce and lemon wedges for squeezing with warmed flatbread.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t use coarse or medium bulgur. Fine bulgur, with particles that are very small and flaky, is key for yielding a mixture that holds together when formed into patties. If you can’t find fine bulgur, process medium or coarse bulgur in a spice grinder for 10 to 30 seconds. Don't rinse the bulgur before use because the added moisture will make the meat mixture difficult to shape. If your mixture is very sticky or wet when you attempt to shape it, refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or so to allow the bulgur to soak up more moisture.

50 minutes

20 minutes active

1 medium yellow onion, peeled
½ cup fine bulgur (see note)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
12 ounces 85 percent lean ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup tahini
4 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
Lemon wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 1

    medium yellow onion, peeled

  • ½

    cup fine bulgur (see note)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces 85 percent lean ground beef

  • 1

    large egg, beaten

  • ¼

    cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • ¾
  • ¾

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1

    cup whole-milk plain yogurt

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • ¼

    cup tahini

  • 4

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater, catching the pulp and liquid in a medium bowl. Stir in the bulgur and 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, until the bulgur has absorbed the onion liquid and is slightly softened.
  2. 02
    Add the beef, egg, pine nuts, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, 1 teaspoon black pepper and ⅔ of the grated garlic. Knead with your hands or mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until well combined, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. 03
    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, parsley, tahini, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and the remaining garlic. Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. 04
    Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Using your hands, form the bulgur-beef mixture into 12 balls (about 2 heaping tablespoons each) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten the balls into ½-inch-thick patties about 2½ inches in diameter.
  5. 05
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add half the patties and cook undisturbed until browned and crisp on the bottoms, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second sides are browned and crisp, about another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and repeat with the remaining oil and patties. Serve with the yogurt-tahini sauce and lemon wedges.
Tip: Don’t use coarse or medium bulgur. Fine bulgur, with particles that are very small and flaky, is key for yielding a mixture that holds together when formed into patties. If you can’t find fine bulgur, process medium or coarse bulgur in a spice grinder for 10 to 30 seconds. Don't rinse the bulgur before use because the added moisture will make the meat mixture difficult to shape. If your mixture is very sticky or wet when you attempt to shape it, refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or so to allow the bulgur to soak up more moisture.
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Beef Kibbeh

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4

Servings

50 minutes

20 minutes active

Tip

Don’t use coarse or medium bulgur. Fine bulgur, with particles that are very small and flaky, is key for yielding a mixture that holds together when formed into patties. If you can’t find fine bulgur, process medium or coarse bulgur in a spice grinder for 10 to 30 seconds. Don't rinse the bulgur before use because the added moisture will make the meat mixture difficult to shape. If your mixture is very sticky or wet when you attempt to shape it, refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or so to allow the bulgur to soak up more moisture.

Ingredients
  • 1

    medium yellow onion, peeled

  • ½

    cup fine bulgur (see note)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces 85 percent lean ground beef

  • 1

    large egg, beaten

  • ¼

    cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • ¾
  • ¾

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1

    cup whole-milk plain yogurt

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • ¼

    cup tahini

  • 4

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 5

Combine Onion and Bulgur

1
medium yellow onion, peeled
½
cup fine bulgur
2
teaspoons Kosher salt

Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater, catching the pulp and liquid in a medium bowl. Stir in the bulgur and 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, until the bulgur has absorbed the onion liquid and is slightly softened.

Step 2 of 5

Combine Ingredients For Patties

12
ounces 85 percent lean ground beef
1
large egg, beaten
¼
cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
¾
teaspoon ground allspice
¾
teaspoon ground cardamom
¾
teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
4
medium garlic cloves, finely grated

Add the beef, egg, pine nuts, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, 1 teaspoon black pepper and ⅔ of the grated garlic. Knead with your hands or mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until well combined, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Step 3 of 5

Create Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

1
cup whole-milk plain yogurt
1
cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼
cup tahini
½
teaspoon Kosher salt
¼
teaspoon ground black pepper
2
medium garlic cloves, finely grated

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, parsley, tahini, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and the remaining garlic. Set aside until ready to serve.

Step 4 of 5

Flatten 12 Patties

Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Using your hands, form the bulgur-beef mixture into 12 balls (about 2 heaping tablespoons each) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten the balls into ½-inch-thick patties about 2½ inches in diameter.

Step 5 of 5

Cook Patties and Serve

4
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
Lemon wedges, to serve

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add half the patties and cook undisturbed until browned and crisp on the bottoms, about 4 minutes.


Flip and continue to cook until the second sides are browned and crisp, about another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and repeat with the remaining oil and patties. Serve with the yogurt-tahini sauce and lemon wedges.

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