Kibbee Recipe (or for the Unfamiliar, Lebanese Meatloaf)
Alright Curry clan and Lugar clan … come with me on a journey long, long ago – to the Christmases of our past – in Johnstown, Pennsylvania – in the 1970’s…were there any better memories than all of those family Christmases???
Every Christmas holiday was spent traveling from relative to relative – a different house every night – to share our food, our company, and our gifts of the season. After partaking in an evening meal at whatever home we were visiting, we would all gather in the living room with a ginormous array of holiday cookies and homemade confectioneries to see each person’s holiday bounty, like a giant family game of Show and Tell, with each person having a turn to be Vanna White. And Oh — the food! Every house had some sort of BIG holiday specialty. Aunt Betty had her fudge; Aunt Helen had her candy; Grandma Lugar her strudel; Aunt Gert her molasses cookies; Aunt Grace her sugar cookies and tea; Uncle Ray – well, he always had Andes candies and Kit Kats in the fridge. 😉
My Mom’s claim to fame was her ability to build the Christmas melting pot of cuisine – bringing together American traditional food along with Lebanese and Croatian foods everyone on both sides grew up with. There would be SO MUCH food made in our house over the holidays, folding tables would be set up in the empty area of the garage to use as a refrigerator to hold all the food (you can do this when you grow up in the mountains of PA where the temperatures plummet after Halloween). Each evening that we hosted, we would line up at the garage door, to help assembly line all of the vats of food from the garage to the kitchen to assemble the feast – turkey, ham, potatoes and gravy, candied yams, kibbee, halupki, Syrian bread, grape leaves, lovers knots, fruit cake, tea time tassies, ladies locks … the list seemed (and was) endless.
Everyone ALWAYS raved about Mom’s skills to cook all that Lebanese food. You see, even though there were 18 kids in my Dad’s family (10 of them girls), the daughters never learned to cook the Lebanese recipes of old – it was all the son’s wives that carried this on. There were many a time growing up that my Mom provided Lebanese cooking lessons, sometimes to my Dad’s Lebanese sisters (Aunt Ev…) to demonstrate her kitchen secrets and twists she added in her own handwriting to her copy of the St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church Lebanese Cookbook.
I now have all of my Mom’s cookbooks and recipes, and as time passes, feel more and more of a need to keep these recipes – these
memories – alive for me and my own children. I often light a candle in the kitchen while cooking, inviting my Mom’s memory to join us in one of her favorite past times, cooking lovingly for her family and friends.
May we each keep Christmas and our family traditions alive and well throughout the year and through future generations! So — without further ado Curry’s and Lugar’s – if you missed getting a copy of Mom’s Kibbee recipe — here you go (Merry Christmas!) 🙂
My Mom’s Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Rinse wheat in a strainer until the water is clear.
3. Mix all ingredients together (except for olive oil) WELL. Knead like bread for at least five minutes. (Make sure you added the water here)
4. Put it in an oiled pan so that it is about 1 inch thick (no more).
5. Cut into one inch squares.
6. Pour about 1/2 cup oil over the top so it is just coated.
7. Bake 25 minutes on lowest oven rack.
8. Drain off as much liquid as you can.
9. Re-cut the squares and pour some more oil over top.
10. Return to middle rack of oven for 15 minutes more.
11. Drain off liquid again.
12. Put under broiler for 5 minutes until golden brown on top (watch carefully!).
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 1/2 cup crushed wheat
- 3 medium onions, chopped small
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon ground all spice
- 2 teaspoins cinnamon
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse wheat in a strainer until the water is clear.
Mix all ingredients together (except for olive oil) WELL. Knead like bread for at least five minutes.
Put it in an oiled pan so that it is about 1 inch thick (no more).
Cut into one inch squares.
Pour about 1/2 cup oil over the top so it is just coated.
Bake 25 minutes on lowest oven rack.
Drain off as much liquid as you can.
Re-cut the squares and pour some more oil over top.
Return to middle rack of oven for 15 minutes more.
Drain off liquid again.
Put under broiler for 5 minutes until golden brown on top (watch carefully!).
You can use ground beef or ground lamb, or half beef and half lamb - that is what Mom usually did.
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