Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kibbeh(-esque) Shepard's Pie recipe for baby-led weaning


Okay, I may as well tell you up front, I have never had real kibbeh. I've just read about it. It captured my imagination and I just had to give it a try. Middle-Eastern grandmothers the world over would weep if they heard me describe this dish as kibbeh, so I won't. But it is kibbeh-ish (kibboid? kibbehsque?), with its spiced beef filling and bulgur-based topping. Just simplified a bit, and made with spices that I have on hand.  Maybe someday I'll try one of the more labor-intensive variations (dumplings!), but for now, this is more my speed.

Mess-wise, it's a 3.  It definitely required more than three wipes to clean it all up. Between the bulgur and the ground beef, there are lots of little tiny bits for Mae to drop onto her lap, into the highchair, and onto the floor.  Quite a bit of it went into her mouth, too, though, so I'd call it a success.

Kibbeh(-esque) Shepard's Pie

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (aka 'mince')
1 c. bulgur (cracked wheat)
2 Tbs flour
1/2 onion, pureed in a food processor
1 tsp zaatar seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
black pepper, salt to taste
1/2 c. pine nuts, chopped

Put your bulgur in a medium bowl and cover it with boiling water. Let it sit a while-- at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the beef in a skillet, mixing in the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, black pepper, and pine nuts.  When it's cooked, turn a portion out into a little casserole dish for the baby, and add a bit of salt to the remaining beef if you like, and put it into a larger casserole dish.

Return your attention to the bulgur: pour it into a fine sieve and press down on it to squeeze out as much water as possible. Put it back in the bowl, mix in the onion, zaatar, and flour. It should clump together after the flour is added; use a bit more if necessary. Turn this out on top of the beef in the casserole pans and pat it down firmly. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (perhaps a bit less for the baby casserole). It should be a bit brown around the edges when it's done.

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