A post in four courses – main


For a healthy main, I selected what I call my Lebanese Lasagne…its real name is Lebanese Kibbeh but I call it a lasagne because it has a similar layered construction and it is easier to say in company without a lot of explanations…I got the  original recipe from this great little book, from the Paper Plus bargain table about ten years ago…

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The first few times I made it direct from the recipe but found it to be a tad dry so took to adding half a can of diced tomatoes over the filling to add some additional moisture. In all fairness, the original looks quite dry too so this is just me adjusting to fit my only preferences…and it has been so long since I have made this, I forgot the tomatoes…

Here’s what I used for this dinner…

For the base and topping

3/4 cup of bulgar wheat. This seems to hide in different parts of the supermarket, even between branches of the same chain so you may have to hunt for it.

 450 grams of quorn…I didn’t know what it was either but found it when I was looking for a vegetarian alternative to meat mince…it was easier to find in the Levin New World than bulgar wheat…it’s not cheap but was worth it for an experiment and I still have a little left over to try in something else…

1 large onion grated.

15 grams butter, melted

salt, pepper to flavour

For the filling

2 tablespoons of chili oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

250 grams of button mushrooms as an alternative to the mince in the original recipe

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

For the dressing

200 ml of greek yoghurt

2-3 teaspoons of crushed garlic. I used the store-bought stuff in a jar as it was there and needed to consume it

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint. Actually I forgot this as i was too busy chatting to my guest as I was serving up…it’s not like we have a shortage of it here.

Other stuff

1 cup of brown rice. I have oodles of white rice but have been wanting to try brown rice for a while with an eventual intention of switching entirely to it from white rice…just need to find a good (cheap) supplier…

This dish is quick and easy to make, even with the non-meat variations. I made it up the previous day in case prep time on the day was limited due to unforeseen work commitments.

Heat the over to 190 degrees

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I wasn’t sure what I would find on opening the packets of quorn mince. It just looked and felt like cooked mince…a bit of an anti-climax really…here is is mixing in with the bulgar wheat and onion…

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The other main alternative to meat mince was good old button mushrooms…I got the recipe from the Thanks For The Food blog…like the quorn, it was amazingly simple and anticlimatic. As suggested in the recipe, I fried the diced mushroom in chilli oil before following the other steps…

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Once the mushroom was mincified, I added the pine nuts, diced onion and tomato, and the allspice. I added the diced tomato to add to the distinction in flavour and texture between the base and the filling – as above though, it wasn’t enough to offset the natural dryness of the recipe. I also meant to dice and add the remaining peppers from my stuffed pepper experimentation but this was also forgotten in the flow of conversation…

I also added a dash of salt and a goodly amount of ground pepper which gave the filling a nice and occasional tang…

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Add half the base layer to a greased baking dish, before adding the filling evenly over the base. If I had remembered the can of diced tomato, it would have gone over the filling.

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Smooth the remaining base over the filling.

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Baste the melted butter over the top. Next time – if I remember – I’d like to try a final topping of non-dairy herby cheese…

Place in the oven and switch to fan bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

It’s now that I drop the rice into the steamer with a little salt. it takes about 40 minutes too as, perfect world, the lasagne and rice will be ready at the same time.

In the meantime, mix the crushed garlic, sour cream and mint together in a small serving dish. Ideally I think this should be done the night before to give the garlic and mint a better opportunity to battle it out with the sour cream flavour…

Slice up the lettuce.

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A cross-section after our two servings were plated…

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Plated ready to go…

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