Kubbeh is a middle eastern side dish made with ground bulgur and meat, shaped into balls that are then filled with minced meat and fried. For the easy version, instead of forming the dough into balls we spread it in a pan, add a layer of minced meat and cover with another layer of dough. This we bake in the oven. It is absolutely delicious and equally good. Today however, I am sharing my moms’ recipe for a different kind of kubbeh, potato kubbeh. Basically we substitute mashed potato for the bulgur and meat dough, so you end up with a layer of minced meat in between a top and bottom layer of creamy mashed potato. However, we have to mix in some bulgur with the mashed potato to help it gain it’s shape and hold together, otherwise you won’t be able to cut out a piece because everything will be so soft.
For the bulgur we use the fine kind. I soak it in hot water for a few minutes to help it soften. It will continue cooking in the oven.
- 7 medium potatoes peeled
- ½ cup butter +
- ½ cup fine bulgur + 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
The meat filling:
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- ½ kilo finely ground beef
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, cinnamon, all spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
*Start by peeling the potatoes, give them a good wash and cut them into medium sized pieces. Try to make them equal in size in order to cook evenly. Put them in a large pan and cover with water, room temp not hot. Leave it to cook until it is soft all the way through. Feel it with the tip of the knife, it should be soft and the knife doesn’t feel any resistance.
*In a small bowl, add one cup of hot water to the bulgur and leave it to soak.
*While the potato is cooking make your filling. Chop the onions finely and sauté them in some vegetable oil. When translucent, add in the ground beef, break it up, mix in the spices and leave to cook.
*Once the potatoes are cooked, drain really well, you do not want any water left. Add the butter, milk, salt and pepper and use the potato masher to mash the whole thing while still hot. Mash it down to the creamiest consistency you can. This is where you taste to adjust the salt. Now add in the bulgur you soaked earlier and mash again. Give it another taste, add in a bit more salt and pepper and you’re done. The potato mix is ready.
*Everything is ready to assemble. Use a non stick pan, this way you’re guaranteed to enjoy every bit of this delicious kubbeh and nothing gets stuck to the pan. Drizzle a few drops of vegetable oil and spread them on the bottom of the pan. I like to add a sprinkle of fine semolina at this step, it gives a bit of a crunch to the final kubbeh. You can add breadcrumbs if you like or nothing at all.
*Now split the mashed potato in half. Spread one half on the bottom of the pan. To prevent the potato mash from sticking to the spoon, put a small bowl with water next to you and dip the spoon before each spread. This helps a lot, you can even use your fingers to spread the potato and likewise use the water to prevent it from sticking to your fingers.
*Once the bottom half is done, spread the meat you cooked evenly on top.
*Next, spread the rest of the mashed potato on top of the meat. This step can be tricky, the potato will keep sticking to the meat under it. As I mentioned earlier, use water to help you spread and be patient. It may take a few more minutes than the first layer but it is totally worth it.
*When you’re done, you need to cut the first layer of mashed potato down to the minced meat. Cutting the kubbeh is an art, check the video or the Instagram reel to see how. When you’re done cutting, add some small pieces of butter randomly on top of the kubbeh (totally optional) and bake in a 180 * oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and crunchy. Pop it under the grill for a few minutes to gain a golden tint. Wait for it to cool down for a few minutes, giving it the chance to bind and come out in one piece when you cut through.
*Enjoy it, it is an amazing dish to share with your loved ones.