Sweet Onion and Kibbeh Ball Soup

If using fine bulgur wheat do not cook it, only soak it in cold water for 10 minutes and then drain off excess water before adding it to the beef.



    1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to the boil, remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of bulgur wheat. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Drain any excess water and leave to cool.
    2. For the filling, heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and honey and set aside to cool. Roughly chop the roasted nuts and mix them into the cooled onion mixture.
    3. Combine the raw minced meat and cooked bulgur wheat and in two batches add to a food processor/blender and blend to form a paste. Add 2 or 3 ice blocks to the food processor each time to keep the beef cool. Season well with salt.
    4. Shape a small amount of raw kibbeh (about 1 ½ tablespoons) into a ball. Make a space for the filling by pushing your index finger into the kibbeh to create a hollow space. Widen the hole by turning the kibbeh ball and pressing its inside walls gently against your palm. Keep a bowl of cold water nearby to occasionally wet your fingers to make sure the meatballs stay moist.
    5. Place 1 teaspoon of kibbeh filling into the opening and close gently by pinching the mince around the filling to seal. Also pinch the opposite side of the meatball to create an oval shape with two pointed ends so they look like little lemons.
    6. Heat about 6cm of oil in a small/medium saucepan until it is sizzling hot and fry the kibbeh in batches for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are deep brown all over. Drain on paper towels. Please note: Do not overheat the oil to smoking hot as this will burn the outside of the kibbeh balls and the inside will remain uncooked.
    7. Add 4 or 5 crispy kibbeh balls to each bowl of sweet onion soup.
    9. Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium-high heat and fry the onions with the lid on for 10 minutes until soft.
    10. Stir in the sugar, lower the heat to medium and cook for a further 20 minutes stirring frequently until very soft and caramelised.
    11. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes until it starts to get a nice golden colour but be careful to not burn the garlic, it will turn bitter. Then sprinkle in the flour and stir well.
    12. Increase the heat to high and slowly pour in the hot stock, continuously stirring as you pour. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (start kibbeh balls step 6 now).
    13. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve the soup hot with 4 or 5 crispy kibbeh balls in each bowl.
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