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Kibbeh Batata
potato, bulgur, and herb spread
RECIPE BY JULIE ANN SAGEER (JULIE TABOULIE)

Photo Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

I’m not a vegetarian, but one thing I love about Lebanese food is how many dishes are naturally meatless or just as delicious prepared without meat. Kibbeh Batata comes from my Sitto (grandmother), who would make this each spring during Lent, when we abstain from meat. I love the springtime, not only because it’s a gorgeous full-of-life moment after the harsh winter here in Upstate New York, but also because I get to delve into the vault of vegetarian recipes from my mother and grandmother.

The combination of bulgur wheat, creamy potatoes, scallions, and herbs makes for a silky, substantial spread that I like to serve with crunchy Bibb lettuce and radishes. If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative, simply swap the bulgur out for quinoa.

 

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed

1⁄2 cup fine #1 bulgur wheat

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 garlic cloves, smashed into a smooth paste

2 1⁄2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

1 small bunch fresh chives, finely minced

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced

1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves, finely minced

4 scallions, ends trimmed, 2 thinly sliced, for serving, 2 finely minced

1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, for serving

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

2 Persian cucumbers, sliced into spears, for serving

6 radishes, sliced in half, for serving

1⁄3 cup Zaytoun olives or mixed olives, for serving

Place the potatoes in a medium pot, fill with cold water, and bring to a rolling boil, uncovered over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and place them in the ice bath to cool. Drain and refrigerate until they are completely cold.

Place the bulgur wheat into a bowl and cover with 3 cups of cold water. Set aside to soak and soften, about 20 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator, peel them, and cut them into quarters. Put the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and, using the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash into a smooth mixture with no lumps.

Once the bulgur has softened and a grain squishes between your fingers, gently squeeze the excess water out of the wheat, working handful by handful, and sprinkle it into the potato mixture. Stir the potato-bulgur mixture to incorporate, season with the sea salt, and mix in the garlic paste, lemon juice, and the 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil. Add the minced herbs and finely minced scallions and stir to distribute thoroughly.

Spread the potato mixture in a circular pattern in the center of a medium serving platter, then make small half-moon indentations in the mixture with the back of a spoon. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into the indentations. Serve with lettuce leaves, sliced scallions, thinly sliced onions, cucumber spears, radishes, and olives.

For the perfect bite, scoop the spread onto a lettuce leaf and top with the raw vegetables and olives.

VARIATION: Replace the bulgur wheat with 1⁄2 cup cold cooked quinoa for a gluten-free version.

TABOULIE TIP! It is key that the potatoes are completely cold before smashing otherwise you will end up with mashed potatoes!

Copyright 2017 by Julie Ann Sageer in Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen, St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin. All Rights Reserved.

From the cookbook

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RECIPE BY JULIE ANN SAGEER (JULIE TABOULIE)

 

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