Food & dining

Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for baked bulgur-ground meat pie

Quentin Bacon

Serves 6

For something a bit different this Rosh Hashanah, a nice option might be this baked kibbeh, called kibbeh bil sanieh, a Middle Eastern bulgur and ground meat dish. This grainy, nutty tasting pie is adapted from “Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews” by Poopa Dweck. The pie consists of sauteed ground beef (you can also use lamb), onion, and pine nuts sandwiched between a top and bottom crust made with bulgur, more beef, and spices. When it’s baked in a pan — kibbeh is often shaped into ovals or balls and fried — it can be cut in a diamond pattern or in wedges (from a round pan) or squares. Kibbeh is best served with a sauce, perhaps one made with local tomatoes or a tahini sauce made with the ground paste, a little water and lemon juice, and garlic.


1tablespoon vegetable oil
1medium onion, chopped
1pound (85 or 90 percent lean) ground beef
1teaspoon ground allspice
1teaspoon kosher salt
½cup pine nuts

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until softened.


2. Add the beef, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring and breaking up clumps, for 6 minutes or until browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the allspice, salt, and pine nuts; cool.

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Vegetable oil (for the pan)
cups (about 7 ounces) fine bulgur (cracked wheat)
1medium onion, coarsely chopped
½pound (85 or 90 percent lean) ground beef
1teaspoon tomato paste
1teaspoon ground allspice
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper)
2teaspoons kosher salt
3tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan or 10-inch round ovenproof skillet or baking dish.

2. Place the bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well with cold water. Transfer the bulgur to a bowl, cover with cold water by 1 inch, and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain in the sieve, pressing down on the bulgur to remove excess liquid. (You should have about 2 cups soaked bulgur.)

3. In a food processor, pulse the onion a few times until finely chopped. Add the beef, tomato paste, allspice, cumin, Aleppo or red pepper, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend the mixture. Add the bulgur and pulse again until combined. (If the mixture isn’t blending fully in the processer, transfer it to a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.)


4. Place half the crust mixture in the pan, pressing down to form a smooth surface. Spread the filling evenly on top, then add the remaining crust mixture, spreading it in clumps and then flattening it to form a smooth surface. In a square pan, use a sharp knife to cut the pie into thirds in each direction to form 9 squares. If using a round pan, cut into 8 wedges.

5. Sprinkle vegetable oil on top. Bake the kibbeh for 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked through and the top is nicely browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 Adapted from “Aromas of Aleppo”