Pumpkin Kebbeh

Pumpkin kebbeh is a healthy vegetarian dish which consists of many nutritious ingredients like pumpkin, spinach, burghul, onions and chickpeas.

This pumpkin kebbeh or la’teen recipe is made with pumpkin and stuffed with seasoned vegetables like spinach, parsley and shumar in addition of the lemon taste.

On my blog you can find many of healthy and delicious vegetarian recipes from the Lebanese cuisine. This special dish is prepared during the period of Lent each year but because it is a favourite to my children and my grandchildren, I like to prepare it with pleasure whenever they crave for it.

To prepare it from scratch you need a small pumpkin around 1 1/2 kilo to make around 2 cups puree or more. The easiest way is to wash the pumpkin well, split the pumpkin then scrape out the seeds and the attached strings out. Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the two halves in a baking dish and roast for about 50 mins or until very soft inside. Remove from the oven and let it cool then scrape up all the flesh inside the pumpkin. Now put them in a food processor or electric food masher until you have the puree. Put the puree on a kitchen paper towel folded into double in a strainer until all the water comes out, the less water the less flour and more pumpkin taste.

It is better to do this procedure few hours ahead or overnight to have the best results with kebbeh.

Preparation time: 50 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 6 to 7

Ingredients:

2 cups pumpkin puree

2 cups burghul

3/4 to 1 cup flour

One onion

1tsp Marjoram or basil

A bunch of fresh green mint or 1 tsp of dried mint

1 heaped tsp salt

3/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Stuffings:

750 grams frozen spinach

One onion chopped

1 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup green fennel or shumar if available

1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 heaped tsp salt

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 heaped tbsp summac

2 medium lemons squeezed

Preparation:

To make the kebbeh: First wash the burghul, drain well then squeeze from water. Put the onion, green mint, marjoram, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a small processor or blender then blend them very well. In a bowl, put the pumpkin puree, burghul and the onion mix then knead all the ingredients with your hand. Now add the flour bit by bit until you have a firm paste consistency. Set it on aside.

How to prepare the stuffing: Drop the oil in a medium pot, add the chopped onion and stir fry over medium heat until softened. Add the spinach, the parsley, the shumar and the chickpeas then stir. Cover and simmer for 5 mins then add salt and the rest of the spices including the lemon, and summac. Allow to simmer for few more mins over low heat. Set aside to cool, it makes it easier to stuff the balls without breaking them.

How to prepare the kebbeh oval shape: Divide the kebbeh into medium round balls, the size of a golf ball. Moisten your hands while moulding it, having a small bowl of cold water handy. Hold the ball in the palm of your left hand, wet the tip of your index and start making a hole in the kebbeh ball by cupping your palm around it and turning until shaped ovaly. Fill it inside with a heaped tbsp or more of the filling. Close it gently all around until you have its head and bottom shaped sharply without breaking the outer layer of the kebbeh as shown in the images. It should be deep fried but I personally prefer it baked in the oven, using an oil greased pan making sure that the kebbeh ovals are brushed with oil. It is as good and much lighter. The oven should be heated at 375 degrees F. bake them for 15 to 20 mins or until done, you might need to cook them for few more mins from the top until they have nice golden colour.

To make the pumpkin kebbeh in a tray: Preheat the oven at the same degrees as the oval ones. Grease an oven tray, start patting the first part to cover the bottom of the pan using a bowl of cold water to wet your hand or a bit of oil which makes it much easier. Then spread the stuffing all over, now the other part which I have an easy trick for you guys to pat the top part quickly (pat it between 2 flat kitchen plastic sheets using the rolling pin then flip it over the pan and fix it with your hand). You might need to add kebbeh near the edge for it to become a smooth layer all around.. Now cut it into pieces, sometimes I cut it into a triangle or a diamond shape as you like and decorate it with a knife. Pour 2 tbsp of oil on the top and bake it for 25 mins.or more and few minutes from the top.

This is an amazing recipe that needs to be made and enjoyed anytime you feel like. If you prepare the puree ahead of time and put it ready in the freezer, you can have a healthy, distinctive and delicious pumpkin kebbeh in no time. Give it a try and you will crave for it as my family ask for it all the time.

Bon Appetit!!--