It seems as though all I’ve been talking about recently is Kebbeh and that’s because I really never tire of it, especially as they’re are so many variations of it. The below recipe is just one other example.I recently gifted my friend Sacha a Middle Eastern cookbook entitled “Turquoise” authored by Greg and Lucy Malouf and full of tales about their journey through Turkey. The book is exquisite; from the turquoise cover (which happens to be my favorite colour), to the delicious recipes and beautiful photography.
Sacha put the book to good use rather quickly, inviting us to dinner just a few days later to sample a couple of the dishes she chose to make. This recipe in particular was very memorable.
The recipe in Greg Maalouf’s book is called a kofte, which in Lebanon would point to a meat & herb mixture, usually molded onto a skewer or simply flattened into a patty. As the ingredients used to make the shell are identical to what would be used to make a traditional pumpkin kebbeh, I’ve opted to call it kebbeh rather than kofta. A more traditional stuffing would call for chickpeas, spinach and pine nuts but I agree with Greg’s flavours wholeheartedly too. I did substitute parsley with sage and baked them purely for convenience’ sake.
- For the shell:
- 550g of pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp hot Turkish pepper paste, or harissa
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 250g fine burghul, rinsed and drained well
- generous pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- vegetable oil for light basting
- For the walnut-feta filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- a small handful fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 50g walnuts
- 180g feta
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the pumpkin puree. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion, cumin, pepper paste (Harissa), paprika, reduce heat to low heat and sweat for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the onions have cooked, add the pumpkin puree and the burghul to the saucepan and mix well. Season with salt. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes. Add the beaten eggs, mix well and transfer to the fridge to cool for about 1 hour.
- In the mean time, place a frying pan on medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the chopped sage for about 1 minute or until it becomes crispy Pound the walnuts till you achieve a rough consistency. Transfer it to a mixing bowl, if necessary and then combine it with the feta and sage. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C/4G and lightly grease a baking tray with oil. Remove the kebbeh mixture from the fridge. Pinch a small lump of the mixture and mold it in your hand to make a smooth ball.
- Use your finger to make an indentation in the mixture, moving in a gentle circular motion to hollow out the middle. Stuff the cavity with a generous teaspoon of the sage and feta stuffing, then pinch the edges together to seal. Place the torpedoes on the prepared baking tray as you go.
- Generously brush the torpedoes with olive oil and transfer them to the oven to bake for about 35 minutes or till lightly golden. Et voila!