Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pumpkin Kibbeh

500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into thick slices
175g fine burghol (cracked wheat) do not rinse
1 small onion, grated
1tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of allspice
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
45g unbleached white flour (or as necessary)

For the filling:
50g chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed (optional)
90ml Extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp and extra for brushing
1 medium sized onion, chopped
75g walnuts, coarsely chopped
1tbsp pomegranate syrup
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium sized aubergine, cut into cubes and fried

Prepare chickpeas for filling, if using. Place in a pan, cover with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil, skimming the foam from the surface of the water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours or until tender. Remove and split chickpeas.
Meanwhile place the pumpkin pieces in the steamer basket and set into a pan over 1 inch boiling water. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until just soft. Remove and drain the pumpkin and squeeze out excess water using the back of a jug.
In a bowl, place the burghol, onion, salt, cinnamon, allspice, pepper and pumpkin, and knead to form a slightly moist dough. Add the flour and mix well. Cover and leave to stand in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until lightly golden. Stir in the chickpeas if using, and the walnuts, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and aubergine. Give the mixture a good stir and remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 180c. Brush a 21cm diameter round baking tin with a little olive oil. Take just under half the dough, and spread evenly over the base of the tin. Cover with the filling. Then take small portions of the remaining dough and flatten between the palms of your hands, moistening your hands as necessary. Spread the pieces of dough out over the top, then smooth and drizzle over the 90 ml of olive oil. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the baking tin and cut into squares. Bake for 30-40 min or until browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is from a new book I got called New Flavours of the Lebanese Table . It was written by one of the chefs from books for cooks
. Books for cooks is an amazing place, and they produced one of my favorite cookbooks too, so I was really excited about this one.

It does not disappoint Not a bit. I love it. It makes Lebanese food completely accessible, and the dishes themselves are so good. I have already made a ton from this book (which I will be blogging soon). What I have found out is that Lebanese food is not so hard to make and also, my kids love absolutely anything that has Tahini in it (they like to lick the spoon after I measure it out too).

This particular one is my favorite so far. It’s not the simplest thing to make, it takes a little time, and has to be done in stages, but it’s not rocket science either, so if you have time and you enjoy cooking, you won’t have any trouble with it.

I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin, because it’s what I can get. It works really well in place of pumpkin for any recipe. Also, I used Bulgur wheat which, I think is what I was supposed to use. I was worried because I wasn’t sure how the Bulgur wheat would manage to soften since there isn’t really liquid in the recipe, and I still don’t know how it did it, but it did. The consistency was perfect.

This dish was just so good. It’s vegan, and vegetarian friendly, but don’t let that stop you if you’re not vegetarian. The taste is such a beautiful mix of sweet and savoury, and the texture is very complex and it all works so well together.

This was just as good as leftovers, cold on the second day too. This recipe alone makes this book worth owning. This is really good stuff.


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