Kibbeh (Lebanese Beef Croquettes)
Oh, Lebanese food, how I love thee!
And a huge part of that love comes from kibbeh. I absolutely ADORE kibbeh!
In fact, if you happen to have a good memory, you will remember that I already have a kibbeh recipe here on the blog. I’ve shared my recipe for Baked Kibbeh, which I described as “Lebanese Meatloaf”, a while ago and I make it pretty often!
This time I’m sharing the croquette version, because 1) they are to die for and 2) it’s football season and eating fried things is not only acceptable but encouraged!
PLUS, the fried kibbeh look like little footballs!!! Aren’t they adorable?
Kibbeh, kubbeh or kokeba all mean “the shape of a ball” in Arabic. In Portuguese, we call it Quibe or Kibe. And in the Dominican Republic, where this classic Lebanese dish is also very popular, they call it Quipe or Kipe.
As you can see, lots of nations have embraced the deliciousness of the kibbeh. No surprises here, since these savory treats are so delicious!
Kibbeh consists of a dough made of meat, bulgur (cracked wheat), onions and mint leaves, formed into football shaped croquettes, and filled with more meat, onions, pine nuts and Middle Eastern spices. They are then deep fried to perfection so they are crisp on the outside and soft inside!
I like to serve my kibbeh while they are still hot, with yogurt (or sour cream) and lime wedges. They can also be served at room temperature and they go great with pita bread, hummus, babaganoush and/or tabbouleh!
I made two batches of this recipe in only a week. 48 kibbeh total and they all vanished VERY quickly!
You see, they came out perfect the first time, but me and Tim couldn’t wait for pictures, and by the time we realized, all the kibbeh was gone. Thank God there was more meat and bulgur, so I was able to make a new batch.
Please, try to not judge. My love for kibbeh is so intense that all my eating healthy related New Year resolutions go down the drain. It is not my fault. It’s all on the kibbeh. Damn you, kibbeh! Why do ya have to be so tasty?
I mean… they are not so bad, health wise, right? Lebanese cuisine is supposedly considered healthy. So let’s forget the fact that these are deep fried and call them healthy. K? Good! Glad we’re on the same page!
A few considerations about this recipe:
1) Kibbeh is usually made with lamb or beef, but you can totally use chicken, turkey or fish here. I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken kibbeh while growing up, since my mom doesn’t eat red meat. However, I prefer beef! Beef kibbeh is the best! ❤️
2) You’ll notice that I use a food processor in my recipe. However, if you do not own one, you can absolutely make everything by hand. I just recommend you grate the onion you’ll be using for the “dough” as to assure the meat dough is smooth and uniform.
4) If pine nuts are too over budget, substitute for walnuts! Your kibbeh will taste amazing regardless!
I hope you guys enjoy it! I’m already craving some more kibbeh, so a tray of baked kibbeh might be in my future!
I’m definitely not done with my kibbeh mania. So expect some more kibbeh recipes soon. I’m thinking kibbeh burger, kibbeh hummus bowl, vegetarian kibbeh. Kibbeh everywhere, kibbeh in ma bellyyyyyy!!!
Oh yeah, I can never get enough of Lebanese food!
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat
- 2 cups water
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large skillet, over medium high heat, sauté onions until soft, about 5 min. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 more minutes. Once browned, season with salt and pepper, allspice and cinnamon and continue cooking until tender, 4 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pine nuts. Reserve.
- In a medium sized bowl, cover the bulgur wheat with 2 cups of warm water. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then drain the excess water in a strainer, squeezing the wheat to get rid of excess water.
- Add the bulgur wheat, the onion and the mint leaves to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high until the onion and the mint leaves are almost pureed. Add the spices and the ground beef, in batches if necessary, and process again to a smooth paste.
- To form the croquettes, with wet hands, shape the meat-bulgur mixture into egg-sized balls. Using your index finger, poke a hole in the center of each ball, rotating the dough to shape the ball into a thin-walled oval (1/3 inch thick walls). Fill the hole with 1 tablespoon of the filling (or more if you have room!) and then gather the edges together to seal, shaping it into a football. Repeat until you have about 24 kibbeh, wetting your hands if necessary.
- In a large saucepan, or dutch oven, heat enough oil over medium heat to cover the kibbeh until a deep fry thermometer reads 360F degrees. Working in batches, fry the kibbeh until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer the fried kibbeh to a plate lined with paper towels, to soak the excess grease.
- Serve hot or at room temperature!