Kibbeh bi'kizabrath (cilantro-tomato soup with Syrian meatballs)

Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Kibbeh (meatball) filling


In a medium bowl, mix together the beef, celery leaves, allspice, salt and vegetable oil.

Kibbeh shells and assembly


Grind the chuck roast in a meat grinder. Add the rice flour and salt and grind twice more until the mixture is smooth and well blended.


Roll the beef-rice mixture into 1-inch balls. In a small dish, combine the oil and lemon juice. Dip your index finger into the oil and lemon mixture (this keeps the shell mixture from sticking to your fingertip) and hollow each ball by using your fingertip to press the round ball against the palm of your hand, and firmly rotating that finger. The shell should be as thin as possible, about one-eighth inch, without allowing the filling to break through.


Fill each kibbeh shell with about 1 teaspoon of the filling. Close by pinching the shell firmly over the filling, smoothing with a little water.

Makes 16 kibbeh.

Cilantro-tomato soup with meatballs


Put the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until soft, 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and salt, raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.


Add three-fourths cup of water, return to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Add the kibbeh, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the cilantro.

Adapted from Poopa Dweck’s “Aromas of Aleppo.”

A meat grinder is required for this recipe.
Make Ahead:
The meatballs may be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.