It’s been said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
I say diamonds are a girl’s (and boy’s) best friend when they’re made out of meat!
I think I was really missing my family last week, ’cause I dug into some Lebanese family favorites. I had cravings for tahini dressing… and turned my spinach into Lemony Spinach… and I transformed ground lamb in Kibbeh Sinayee, a.k.a. baked lebanese meatloaf, a.k.a., Lamb Diamonds.
This recipe has multi-steps and is potentially on the fussier side of things – but the little bit of extra time required pays off BIG TIME in taste. Basically, you make a sort of lamb paté and a crumbled lamb filling, then you layer them in a pan and bake. Authentic kibbeh uses cracked wheat as a binder. It makes the meatloaf portion tender to the bite and adds a slight nutty flavor. I replaced the cracked wheat with riced (defrosted frozen) cauliflower, and it worked just great!
This kibbeh tastes awesome hot out of the oven or at room temperature. And like other homemade goodies, the flavors improve it if sits in the fridge for a day or two. I might have eaten some directly from the fridge with my hands at snack time. Maybe.
Here’s the end result. See? Diamond shapes!
Kibbeh Sinayee (Lamb Diamonds!)
1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1 c steamed fresh cauliflower or defrosted frozen
2 medium onions
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
fat of choice: olive oil or coconut oil recommended
1-2 tablespoons pine nuts
1. Place steamed cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it’s the consistency of rice. Be careful! You don’t want it to mash. When it’s the right size, place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Place about 1/2 pound of the lamb and one of the onions (cut into large dice) in a food processor. Process on high until it starts to become paté-like, then add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon mint. With the motor running, add another 1/2 pound of the lamb, scraping down the sides as necessary. You want it to look like a consistent paste. This might take a little while, depending on the power of your food processor. Scraping down the bowl occasionally helps. Also beneficial: taking a sniff and inhaling the earthy mint and cumin smells. Awesome.
3. When you’re happy with the texture, add the lamb mixture to the bowl with the cauliflower, wet your hands, and mix well until the cauliflower is distributed evenly in the lamb paté. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
4. Time to make the filling! Heat about 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Chop the remaining onion in a fine dice, then sauté the onion and pine nuts until the onion is translucent and soft, and the pine nuts are beginning to brown.
5. Add salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, stirring ’til fragrant. Add the remaining 1/2 pound lamb to the pan, breaking up the lamb with a wooden spoon and sautéeing until it’s very brown and cooked through.
6. Remove pan from heat and allow the meat filling to come to room temperature.
Assembling the Diamonds:
1. Heat the oven to 400F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round pan with olive oil or melted coconut oil.
2. Place half the kibbeh mixture (that’s the lamb paté) in the bottom of the pan. Wet your hands and smooth the kibbeh until it’s an even layer.
3. Spoon the lamb+pine nut filling on top of the kibbeh base; spread evenly.
4. Place the remaining kibbeh mixture in the baking pan, wet your hands, and smooth the kibbeh over the filling to make a pie.
5. Hold a sharp knife under cold running water, then use it to make diamond patterns on the top of the kibbeh sinayee.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until browned and firm. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and eating. If you decide to let it “mature” in the fridge, which I recommend you do, just cover with foil and re-heat in a 300F oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot.
To make this into a feast, serve it with any of these guys:
Lemony Spinach a la TMJ
Lettuce, tomato, and cucumber drizzled with tahini dressing
Cauliflower Frouscous Pilaf
Moroccan Orange Salad
|This is the lamb “paté” that forms the crust.|
|The bottom layer spread in the pan.|
|The lamb+pine nut filling.|
|Ready to go into the oven.|
|Ready to eat!|
Also, it’s not Lebanese or about food, but I couldn’t resist this video. WHO COULD RESIST THIS VIDEO?
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