Baked lamb kibbeh called kibbeh bil sanieh in Syria is considered to be the national dish. It is beloved in many Middle Eastern countries, especially in Syria and Lebanon. This dish made typically made with lamb is similar to a pot roast, a true comfort food. It is made with fine bulgur which makes for a lovely consistency and texture whether this is eaten baked or raw.
Yes, this dish raw called Kibbeh Nayeh is also beloved. I didn't try it raw as I don't have a reliable source for fresh lamb meat. However, you could also use beef and I bet this dish raw is very similar to a steak tartare which is one of my favorites. At any rate, this baked lamb kibbeh is filled with flavor and is the type of dish that would be perfect for any family meal. It is typically served with a side of yogurt dip.
When you make this dish you should cut the kibbeh into a design or typically simple diamond shapes before you put it in the oven. You can make it round or in a 9 x13" pan whichever you have on hand.
Did you know that in the Middle Ages, the capital city of Syria, Damascus was a major point on the Silk Road from Asia and gave the name to the woven fibers known as damask?
Syria has had many trials and tribulations and a most recent horrific civil war. If you would like to learn more about this Middle Eastern country be sure to check out "Our Journey to Syria". There you will also find some more delicious and authentic Syrian recipes like Muhamarra, a spicy red pepper dip served with Syrian pita bread. and a semolina nut cake called h'risseh.
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Syrian Baked Lamb Kibbeh (Kibbeh Bil Sanieh)
Kibbeh Nayeh or Raw Kibbeh
- 1 cup fine bulgur #1
- 8 ounces tomato sauce Small can
- 10-12 ounces room temperature water
- 2 pounds lean ground lamb
- 2 medium onions grated
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoon butter
Kibbeh Nayeh or Naked/Raw Kibbeh
- In a large bowl, soak the bulgur in the tomato sauce and water for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. If a bit of water remains simply drain it out.
- After the bulgur is done soaking, add the lamb, grated onions, and salt to the bowl. Knead the mixture with your hands for several minutes as if it were bread, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Refrigerate the mixture while you make the stuffing.
- In a non-stick pan, sauté the ground lamb on low-medium heat, breaking it up so that it cooks in tiny pieces. After about 8-10 minutes, when the meat is completely browned, add the chopped onion, pine nuts, allspice and salt. Kibbeh stuffing before mixing.
- Stir the ingredients together and cook the mixture another 8-10 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Putting it all together
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Retrieve the Kibbeh Nayeh from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Wet your hands and cover the bottom and sides of a round 9” pan with one half of the raw lamb mixture. Pat it down gently so that it becomes a thin layer that entirely covers the pan.
- Once the entire pan is covered with the raw lamb mixture, add the cooked lamb mixture on top. Then add the remaining half of the raw lamb mixture on top of the cooked lamb, encasing it between the raw lamb layers.
- When the cooked lamb is completely covered, wash your hands and smooth out the top gently. Then cut a design or diamond shapes all the way through the Kibbeh by making diagonal cuts with a large knife, then cutting diagonals in the other direction to make diamonds. Dot each piece with a dab of butter.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top and sides are well browned. Check occasionally during baking and pour off any fat that comes to the surface and dispose of it. At the end of baking, to make the top crispier, you can broil for 1-2 minutes.
- Let the Kibbeh rest for a few minutes. Serve with Greek-style yogurt.