An acquired taste this should not be,
This soupy flavor is heavenly.
Yogurt mixed with creamy butter,
Will set your taste buds all aflutter.
Kibbe balls spiced just right,
Spoon one up in every bite.
For density a cup of rice,
For garnishment some mint is nice.
Outside the box? Perhaps a bit,
But have a bowl and you’ll admit…
This medley is a notch above,
One you don’t need time to love.
This Lebnia recipe is from my late Aunt Margaret. She was one of the best Lebanese cooks in our family. Everything she served was fresh and home-made. I especially remember the bread she used to bake in the oven out in her garage, her delicious pie crusts and this fantastic soup. As far as I know, my Aunt Margaret was the only one in the family who made it. For me, her memory will always be attached to this delicious, comforting soup.
For the Kibbe
1lb. ground London broil or top sirloin (have butcher grind for you)
1 small red onions quartered
1/2 small red bell pepper (seeded)
1/2 heaping cup #1 cracked wheat (soaked in warm water for approx. 15 minutes)
1 TBS ground allspice
1 TBS ground cumin
1/2 TBS Kosher Salt (approx.)
For the Soup
1 egg, beaten well
1 Qt. regular plain yogurt
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup white rice
1 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped and fried in olive oil
In a food processor, add quartered onions, mint and red bell pepper. Mix until pureed. Place meat in a large mixing bowl. Add pureed mixture, allspice, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well (preferably by hand.) Add the cracked wheat. Mix well. Add additional seasonings if needed to taste. This is called KIBBE and can be eaten just as it is with olive oil, pita bread and fresh onions.
For this recipe, however, form 2 TBS of kibbe mixture into a football shape. Stuff each piece with a pat of butter. Place on tray and freeze.
In a large pot, add yogurt, water and egg and whisk over low heat. Add rice and salt. When it comes to a slow rolling boil, add the frozen kibbe balls and cook on low for about 20-30 minutes. Do not cook with the top on the pot or the soup may curdle. Garnish with fried, salted mint. Serves 6.