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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

meat brownies

I wish I could remember who coined the term 'meat brownies' as a nickname for kibbee. It's genius.

Anyway, I've made kibbee several times before, and it was good. It was not, however, as good as this kibbee that Arthur made Sunday night. He does have the advantage of real Lebanese blood running through his veins, but I also think he has a better recipe. Here it is.

Aunt Adelle Rice's Kibbee-slightly modified

2 lb. lean ground beef, ground twice
3 cup burghol
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt
1 medium onion, pureed
1 cup rendered butter

filling (hashwy)

1.25 lb ground lamb
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp Aleppo Pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2.5 Tbs pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and soak burghol for 30 minutes.
In a frying pan, brown the hashwy mixture over low to medium heat until the meat is half done. Set it aside.
Squeeze excess water from the burghol, and place in a large bowl. Mix kibbee ingredients together in the bowl. Knead until thoroughly mixed. Use cold water to keep hands moist and to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
Split the kibbee into 2 equal halves. Place the first half of kibbee in an 8 x 12 pan greased with butter or cooking spray. Spread the meat evenly. (The best way to do this is to make 'hamburger patties' and place them in the pan, smoothing their edges together to make one layer of meat.) Place the filling in the pan and spread evenly. Place the second half of the kibbee mixture on top to cover the other layers. (Use the hamburger method, but be careful not to push them down too much.)
Use a sharp knife to cut the kibbee into diamond shaped pieces. Pour cup of rendered butter over all kibbee.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, and then broil for about 3-5 minutes. Remove and serve.
Of course, we had to have some bread to go along with our meal. And what would be more appropriate than pita bread? Time to call in The Bread Bible!
Two things: I went out and bought a baking stone to use to cook these, and I love it. Also, I'll give the measurements in volume and in ounces - I've started weighing the ingredients, and it has worked beautifully.

Pita Bread
(from The Bread Bible)

3 cups (plus a scant 1/4 cup) or 16 oz. of unbleached flour - I recommend King Arthur.
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast - I'm using Fleischmann's Rapid Rise.
2 Tbs olive oil
1.25 cups water, at room temp (70-70 degrees)

At least 8 hours (or up to 3 days) before shaping the pita, mix the dough. (I let mine rise for 2 days. The longer it rises, the more the flavor develops.) Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand-up mixer before you add the yeast. This will keep the salt from directly contacting the yeast and killing it. Add the yeast, olive oil, and water. Use the paddle attachment and mix on low speed briefly, just until the flour is moistened. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough clean the bowl and be just a little sticky to the touch.

Use a lightly oiled rubber spatula to scrape the dough into a 2-quart (or larger) greased bowl. Press the dough down and oil the top of it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge. Check it every hour for the first four hours, pressing it down if it starts to rise. I actually only pressed it down once, because I had to go to work. It was fine.

Put a baking stone or iron skillet on the lowest shelf of your oven. Let the oven preheat to 475 for at least an hour.

Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. (Work with only piece at a time, keeping the others under a damp towel.) Shape each piece into a ball and flatten into a disk on a lightly floured counter, using lightly floured hands. Cover the disks with lightly oiled plastic wrap (it is almost impossible to oil plastic wrap neatly) and let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Roll each disk into an approximate circle. The circles should be a little under 1/4 inch thick. Let them rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Quickly toss the dough circles on the baking sheet, 3 or 4 at a time. Bake for about 3 minutes. The pitas should puff (mine were like balloons), abut not really turn brown. I flipped mine and cooked them for an additional minute, but I don't think this is necessary. Let the oven reheat itself for 5 minutes between batches.

Keep the pitas wrapped in a towel before serving. They can be warmed briefly in the oven, which makes them even more delicious.

Now, what to do with those leftovers?

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