Ingredients

KIBBEH SHELL
450g butternut squash/pumpkin
olive oil
100g fine bulgur
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tahini, well stirred
1 tablespoon plain flour
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
FETA & SPINACH FILLING
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely diced
100g spinach leaves, stalks removed
feta, or your choice of melting white cheese or savoury butter
TO FINISH
vegetable oil, for cooking
Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Instructions

1.KIBBEH SHELL
2.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
3.Cut the butternut squash/pumpkin into chunks and arrange in a small roasting tray. Toss with salt, pepper and a generous splash of olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4.While the butternut squash/pumpkin is cooling, soak the bulgur in warm water for 5 minutes.
5.Tip into a sieve and, using your hands, squeeze out as much water as you can. Then tip into a tea towel and twist to extract even more water. When it’s as dry as you can manage, tip it into a large mixing bowl.
6.Slice away the skin from the butternut squash/pumpkin and weigh out 250g of flesh.
7.Add this to the bowl with the bulgur and mash the two together to form a smooth purée.
8.Add the onion, tahini, flour, and spices, and season generously with salt and pepper. Knead with your hands until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
9.Chill for at least 30 minutes, which will make the paste easier to work with.
10.To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion.
11.Sweat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.
12.Add the spinach leaves and stir over the heat, turning it around frequently until it wilts. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Season with salt and pepper, then chop finely.
13.When you are ready to make the kibbeh, divide the shell mixture into 12 even portions.
14.Take one portion in the palm of your left hand and roll it smooth with the other hand.
15.Using the forefinger of your right hand, make an indentation in the ball and start to shape it carefully into a hollow shell. Try to make the shell as thin and even as you can. Wet your finger from time to time, to make it easier.
16.Fill the shell with a scant teaspoon of the spinach filling, together with a small cube of feta or your choice of flavoured butter.
17.Add another pinch of spinach, then wet the edges of the opening and carefully pinch it closed. Make sure you don’t trap any air inside. You are aiming to form a small torpedo-shaped dumpling, with slightly tapered ends.
18.Repeat with the remaining mixture and filling.
19.Leave the stuffed kibbeh on a tray in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, until you are ready to cook them.
20.When ready to cook, pour vegetable oil into a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan to a depth of about 6cm and heat to 180°C.
21.Fry the kibbeh, a few at a time, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they turn a deep golden brown. Turn them around in the oil to ensure that they colour evenly all over.
22.Drain them on paper towel and serve piping hot with a dollop of yoghurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Edited extract reproduced with permission from The Recipe, Josh Emett
with photography by Kieran E. Scott, published by Upstart Press, $49.99.
Cover copyright © Josh Emett
Design copyright © Blackwell and Ruth Ltd, 2019

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