I had not eaten raw meat since I was growing up in New York, saying “yuck” to my father’s order of steak tartare, until I tried this dish in Puebla recently. The addition of fresh chile seeds gives it a whole other dimension of flavor, and the chopped jalapeños, onions and mint take it over the top. Be sure to use the freshest, leanest sirloin or leg of lamb and have the butcher grind it twice. In Lebanon, before meat grinders and processors, this was done with a huge, free standing mortar and pestle, making it a labor-intensive dish usually prepared for special gatherings.
- ½ cup fine bulgur
- 1 medium onion, ground or pureed
- 1 pound twice-ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon chile seeds from fresh jalapeño or serrano chile
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Chopped green onion
- Chopped fresh jalapeño or serrano chile
- Chopped fresh hierba buena (mint)
Mix all kibbeh ingredients, kneading well with hands until completely blended.
Place chopped green onion, chopped chiles and chopped mint in a separate dish, or smaller dishes, for diners to add to taste. Serve with warm pita bread and jocoque or yogurt.
Makes 8 servings, or more if part of a buffet.