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kubba hamuth

Ingredients

For the kubba shell:
1 cup extra fine bulgur #1 (200 grams)
1 pound lean ground beef (454 grams)
1 teaspoon baharat
1 teaspoon salt

For the kubba filling:
1 pound lean ground beef (454 grams)
1/4 of 1 onion, finely minced (45 grams)
1/2 cup finely minced parsley (30 grams)
1 teaspoon baharat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon softened butter (14 grams)*

For the stew:
3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil (43 grams)
3/4 of 1 onion (135 grams)
2 jalapeños, pith removed and minced (50 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baharat
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes (Two 400-gram cans)
3 1/2 cups stock
Salt to taste
4 packed cups torn or coarsely chopped dark leafy greens, like kale or spinach (100 grams)
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Make the kubba shell: Soak the bulgur in a few inches of cold water for 15 minutes, then strain it through a fine mesh sieve, wringing it out with the back of a spoon for a few seconds to get rid of excess water.
  2. Combine the strained bulgur, ground beef, baharat, and salt in a food processor, and blend together for 3 minutes, until it forms a dough. The bulgur will still be a bit grainy, but it will break down slightly.
  3. Make the kubba filling: Hand-mix the ground beef, minced onion, parsley, baharat, salt, and butter, just until combined.
  4. Stuff the kubba: Wet your hands as you work to keep things from sticking. Take a level tablespoon of the kubba shell, roll it into a ball, and flatten the ball out in the palm of your hand. Take a shy tablespoon of filling, place it in the center of the flattened shell, and wrap the sides around it until it makes a sphere. Roll the sphere in your hands to smooth it. Repeat, and pace yourself as you work, so you don’t run out of the shell or filling.**
  5. Make the stew: In a stockpot or large dutch oven, place the butter or oil over medium heat for a couple minutes. Once the butter melts, add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring every minute or two, until they’re a little golden.
  6. Add the jalapeños to the stockpot, and cook for 3 minutes to soften them a little.
  7. Add the baharat, give everything a stir, and then add the diced tomatoes and stock, and season to taste with salt. Bring it to a simmer over high heat, and then add the kubba one by one, slightly flattening each ball into a disc between your palms right before you add them. Allow about 30 seconds for everything to come back up to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Cook covered for 10 minutes, then gently stir everything, cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes total, remove from heat, add the greens,*** give everything a gentle stir, and then add the lemon juice. The greens will take about 2 minutes to cook with the residual heat. Give it a final stir right before serving.

Notes

* You can make the filling with a fattier ground beef, but I developed the recipe this way so that you won’t have to buy 2 different kinds. But if you have 1 pound lean meat and 1 pound higher fat meat, feel free to skip the butter.

** This recipe has the right ratio of filling to shell, but no worries if you have some leftover at the end. Simply make a few small meatballs with the leftover filling (or the leftover shell), and throw them right in with everything else.

*** Letting the greens coast will help it stay green instead of turning gray, but if you’re making this ahead for guests, you might want to add the greens at the last second, because it will continue to cook as it cools down. Everything else can be made ahead of time, reheated later, and the greens added at the last minute. If you’re just making this for yourself and your family, it keeps great as is, and the leftovers will be delicious. Kale in particular isn’t traditional here, but it’s fairly traditional to add some greens or other veggies to the stew, and kale is just what I had handy when recipe developing, so feel free to add your favorite veggie instead.