November is the month of the pomegranate and vegetarian kibbe seasoned with pomegranate syrup makes for perfect autumn eating. Add greens and tomatoes from the garden, stuff into a pita, and you've got a tasty sandwich. This dish is from the cookbook Silk Road Cooking, A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij which traces the flow of ideas, recipes and spices along the Silk Road from China to Italy and all points in between. The book is full of gorgeous photos and makes for fascinating reading. Most important, the recipes have never disappointed. This dish is not complicated, but it has several steps and requires refrigeration time in between. Budget your time accordingly or you're in for a late night.
Kibbe with Bulgur, Pomegranate Syrup and Pine Nuts
adapted from Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft
2 cups fine grain bulgur, soaked in 3/4 cup warm
water for 15 minutes
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp pomegranate syrup (not juice,
available at Middle Eastern grocers)
1/2 cup parsley
1 Tbs butter or vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbs pomegranate syrup
vegetable oil for frying
For the Sandwiches
1/2 C tomatoes (we used Matt's Wild Cherry from the garden)
tahini or hummus to taste
1/2 C lettuce (we used mizuna from the garden)
Step 1 -- Make the Shell
- Combine all the shell ingredients in a food processor and mix until you have a thick dough. Cover and refrigerate 40 minutes to firm up.
- Heat oil or butter and saute onions over medium until translucent. Add spices and pomegranate syrup and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Using your hands, mold the shell dough into balls -- smaller than a tennis ball, bigger than a golf ball. If you moisten your hands first, the dough won't stick too much. Place on sheet pan lined with silpat or parchment paper as you go.
- Make an impression in each ball of dough using your thumb and fill each hole with 1 tsp of filling. Pull the dough around the filling so it is now in the center of the dough. Flatten each ball into a patty. You shouldn't be able to see any of the filling. Refrigerate the patties to firm up before cooking, about 30 minutes.
- Heat oil for frying over medium, and fry each patty until golden brown on both sides. Remove to paper towels to drain.
- Serve kibbe with warm pita bread, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, mint and tahini or hummus.
- To eat, open the pita and fill with all of the above.