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KIBBEH Kibbeh Safarjaliyeh is quite an ancient Aleppian dish; the recipe was found in a 12th century old cookbook.

Quince arrives to the markets in the fall, and there is a rush to buy it and freeze it to prepare kibbeh Safarjaliyeh all year round. The dish includes meat, kibbeh, pomegranate juice, and quince which impart a delightful sharp taste and a pink color to the dish.


8 to 9 servings

500 g mutton or beef shanks

Few sheep bones (optional)

5½ cups beef stock from boiling the mutton shanks

2 cups sour pomegranate juice 

About ½ cup lemon juice

3½ tablespoons sugar

20 garlic cloves (80 g), crushed

1000 g quince (800 g with skin after removing core)

4 tablespoons Ghee (Samneh) or butter

2 tablespoons dried and crumbled mint leaves

2 teaspoons salt, or to desire


For kibbeh balls

About 30 round or oval small kibbeh balls, stuffed with ground meat and onion or with squares of cold butter or kept empty.


1.      Cook meat till tender.  Set meat aside and strain stock. You should end up with 5½ cups stock. Simmer to reduce or add water or more stock to the correct measure.

2.      Prepare kibbeh balls and stuff them or keep empty.

3.       Place meat stock in a pot over high heat with pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar, crushed garlic and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.

4.      Chop quince with the skin to 2 to 3 cm cubes, add them to pot and simmer till quince is tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

5.      Using a fork, mash 6 to 7 pieces of quince, (they make about ½ cup and thicken sauce) and add them to pot over heat. Continue simmering mixture 5 minutes more.

6.      Taste sauce and adjust seasoning by adding more lemon juice, sugar or salt.

7.      Add kibbeh balls and meat to sauce and simmer 2 minutes more or till kibbeh is cooked. Return quince to pot, add Ghee and mint. Bring to a boil and pour into a serving bowl.

8.      Serve hot to be eaten in soup plates with soup spoons.



N.B.: For pomegranate juice substitute:

Use 6 cups stock, 1 cup water and more lemon juice and sugar according to taste.


Variation: 3 to 5 tablespoons tomato paste may be added in step 3.


© 2005 Cooking Courses Marlene Matar