Last week, I was cramming lots of food into the freezer – bags of kale, ice cube trays of herbs, jalapenos – trying to preserve what’s left from my summer garden. As I tried to make room, I unearthed quite a bit from last year’s haul, including a few cryovac bags of lamb.
Food doesn’t necessarily rot in the freezer but it does go bad. Water evaporates causing freezer burn – that off, dried out texture on the outer edge of meat. It won’t harm you to eat, but the meat will be a little dry. The ice crystals that form as a “protective layer” on ice cream? That’s also water evaporation. Food also tends to absorb flavors from the freezer. No matter how vigilant you are about changing the box of baking soda (and let’s be honest, who is?), food will begin to lose its flavor after several months. Sealing food in air-tight bags helps. I’ve eaten food, properly stored, up to two years later that’s been fine.
But I didn’t want to chance saving my prized lamb for another year. I decided to make Kibbe… a Middle Eastern dish of spiced ground lamb mixed with bulgur. I recently had this dish at Rami’s in Brookline (home of amazing shwarma) and it was delicious!
I served the kibbe with a green salad dressed with Kripalu dressing. The sesame seed paste is reminiscent of the tarator sauce so common in Middle Eastern cuisine.
1 cup fine bulgur
1 pound ground lamb
¼ tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. olive oil
¼ pound ground lamb
½ small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons pinenuts
Two pinches of allspice
½ teaspoon salt
Oil for Frying
1. Put the bulgur in a bowl and cover it completely with at least two cups of water. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until bulgur is tender.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook for 4minutes or until onions soften and lightly brown. Add pinenuts and cook for 2 minutes, or until they toast lightly. Add the lamb and stir, breaking up the lamb, cooking until it is cooked through. Season with allspice. Let cool in the refrigerator.
3. Drain the bulgur and squeeze out any excess water. Mix the bulgur with the remaining ingredients. Divide the mix into 12 balls.
4. Flatten out each ball, and fill with about 1 tbs. of the filling. Fold the raw meat around the filling and form it into a football shape.
5. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry the kibbe until brown all sides, about 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.