400 gm minced beef
400 gm dried burghul
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
250 gm extra minced beef (for filling)
50 gm pine nuts + extra handful to decorate top
1 tsp each: ground black pepper + ground cinnamon + 7 spices
1 wooden cinnamon stick
Salt + pepper + 7 spices (pinch of each)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs corn or sunflower oil + 1 tbs extra
Wash burghul under running tap water, until water is almost clear. Soak burghul in tap water to cover it by one inch. Cover and allow to soak for at least a couple of hours. Drain by taking a handful out of the water, squeezing it in the palm of your hand releasing water completely, then place drained burghul into a dry bowl. Repeat process until all quantity is drained. Leave aside. Meanwhile, cook extra mince for filling: Heat corn or sunflower oil in a small saucepan. Add medium onion. Stir until translucent. Add cinnamon stick, pinches of salt, pepper and 7 spices. Stir until fragrant. Add minced beef; stirring it into onion. Allow to cook uncovered; stirring occasionally. In the meantime, add extra tablespoonful of corn or sunflower oil to a small saucepan; offheat. Add 50 grams of pine nuts. Place saucepan over medium heat. Stir to gently fry nuts just until slightly golden. Remove immediately from heat. Drain nuts from oil and stir into cooked mince. Remove mixture from heat when mince is done and dry. Allow to cool. Remove cinnamon stick. Meanwhile prepare kibbeh mixture: In a large bowl, mix raw minced beef with chopped large onion and teaspoonfuls of seasoning and salt. Mix well by hand to fully incorporate. Add burghul and mix by hand, to integrate and blend well with mince. Take an amount of the mixture and process in a food processor, to form a soft thick paste-like consistency. Place aside in another bowl. Repeat process until all quantity is finished. Hand blend all processed batches to incorporate. Divide quantity in half. In a round baking tray of 28 cm diameter, pat one half of blended kibbeh, to cover pan base; with not higher than an inch in thickness. Remove extra paste; if necessary. Distribute cooked mince and pine nuts on top; leaving one cm empty around outer edge of paste. Cover filling with remaining half; acquiring same thickness; removing excess; if needed. Wet the tip of a sharp knife, then start designing the pattern illustrated; without reaching base of pan. Press a raw pine nut into each diagonal. Pour olive oil to completely cover top. Bake in a preheated oven of 200 degrees C, until top is slightly golden. Remove from oven and serve with a garlic mint yoghurt and cucumber salad.
N.B.: If extra paste is left out, it can be shaped into kibbeh balls and stuffed with small amounts of filling then deep fried in oil.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 6 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly