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Heirloom Tomato Kibbeh Recipe


Chef Ana Sortun uses her vast knowledge of spices and Middle Eastern cuisine to create this lovely and refreshing dish. Sortun is one of the featured chefs at the annual Taste of St. Croix event that takes place on the island and where this dish was also served. — Yasmin Fahr


  • 2 cups grated tomato with pulp and seeds (2 large heirloom tomatoes)
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper paste (or 1 teaspoon harissa)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon Aleppo chiles or sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups fine bulgar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 6 small Brandywine or yellow heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups of labne (thick strained yogurt)
  • 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges to squeeze
  • Greens, for serving


Place the grated tomato, minced green pepper, scallions, pepper paste, tomato paste, cumin, and chiles in a bowl. Whisk together and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in the fine bulgar and ½ cup olive oil and let sit for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Prepare a medium-sized mixing bowl with ice water.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil on high heat. Make an X with a small pairing knife in each of the 6 yellow or small Brandywine tomatoes. Drop them in the boiling water for 20 seconds or until you see the skin peel back from the tomato. Using a slotted spoon or sieve, remove the tomatoes from the water and plunge them into the bowl of ice water. Remove the skins.

Cut each tomato in half length wise and remove the seeds. Salt each tomato lightly and allow to sit for a few minutes cut side down to get rid of some of the water. Select 6 beautiful halves for stuffing and finely mince the other 6 halves. Chop the minced tomatoes until they start to form a paste. Place them over a sieve and let them drain for 10 minutes to lose some of their water. Place the tomato concassè in a small mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir in a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, season the labne with salt and pepper. Stuff each reserved tomato half with 3-4 tablespoons of labne.

To serve, spread the kibbeh in a round shape on a plate, top with a couple of tablespoons of tomato concassè, some lightly dressed greens, and the stuffed tomato half. Serve with lemon wedge.