I remember my Uncle Joe making this dinner when I was a kid. That’s how I know how to make it. This dinner consists of “Kibbee” which is Lebanese meatloaf, a salad called “Tabulee” and a yogurt based sauce perfect for the meatloaf and for the salad. When my uncle’s family got together for the holidays, I remember the freshly kneaded kibbee being let out on the dinner room table, until they were ready for it in the kitchen. Us kids would race by snag a taste with two fingers grab and keep running (Kibbe Niyee). Kibbee was one of the main entrées when dinner was served (Kibbe Sineea). After dinner, after the kitchen was cleaned up, it would appear on the table again in its traditional diamond shapes as a snack. My Aunt Jeanne was the one who actually provided me and my wife with the recipe, which we've modified because we live in Alaska.
Kibbe (Lebanonese Meatloaf)
1 cup kouskus,
1 ½ pound ground lamb,
(lean beef will do if lamb isn’t available)
4-5 tablespoons pine nuts,
(in the old country they used walnuts)
1 medium size onion minced,
3 tablespoon butter,
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon salt,
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice,
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves,
1 tablespoon diced mint,
9x11 cake pan or baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Ahead of time wash the kouskus two or three times in cold water. Drain. Add water to cover kouskus and allow to stand and absorb moisture. This will make the kouskus expand. Set the bowl aside about 1 hour. Drain any excess water when ready to use.
Brown the pine nuts (or walnuts) lightly in butter, then add and brown the minced onions.
Knead together spices, meat and kouskus with wet hands or wet spatula. Mix the ingredients well. Divide in half.
Form the first layer of meat in the pan and spread evenly. Use wet hand and or a wet spatula. Pour browned onions and nuts with butter evenly over the first layer. Lay on the top layer of meat and smooth over whole surface.
Preheat the oven to 375F and bake for 1 and ½ hours to a hard crust. When done, cut into diamond shapes and place on a serving platter.
Get a box and follow instructions . Generally combine the ingredients in the box with a cup of boiling water. Leave in the icebox over night. Right before dinner stir in 1 cup of chopped, drained fresh tomato, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Grade and drain ½ a cucumber. Make sure to drain the graded cucumber! Mix it with 2 cups plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of minced mint.
To serve, put Kibbee and Tabulee side by side on a plate and cover in Laban Sauce.