I'm pretty sure this couple just finished feasting on the souls and flesh of the living before posing for this picture in their lensless glasses. But that's not really the point. The point, which you may have guessed by now, is that my sister made some crazy awesome soup for me over the weekend. And I managed to weasel it out of her (read: politely asked her for it). It's got pretty much everything I look for in a soup. Awesome flavor, variety of texture, and dumplings. Because dumplings are awesome. Seriously you guys. Dumplings.
3 Large Onions
1 lb. of lean ground meat (my sister used turkey, which was awesome. I wouldn't say no to ground beef though. Because beef.)
1 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
3 Sweet Potatoes
1 lb. Semolina (traditionally kubbeh is made with bulgur. But that's not how my sister made it. And also, traditionally it's not made into soup. So shut it)
2.5 TBSP Smoked Paprika
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Pepper
The juice from 1/2 a Lemon
An unspecified amount of Salt
A huge, but still unspecified, amount of Water
The first things you're gonna need to do is to gather all of your vaguely middle eastern friends. Then ask them, preferably from a distance, how to spell and/or pronounce Kubbeh. Then watch the ensuing chaos with malicious glee. And popcorn. Because it seems like every family calls it's something different. But whether you're making Kubeh, Kubbeh, Kubbah, Kibbe, Kibbeh, Quibe, or any other weird variant, it's all the same. So heat up 1/2 your Olive Oil over medium heat, finely chop 2 of your Onions, add in a normal human pinch of salt, and sauté until they're golden and awesome smelling. Then add in your Ground Meat and half of your Black Pepper, and continue to cook it until the meat's cooked through. This is easy to spot, because the drool in your mouth will get to the point where it actually impedes your speech. Turn off the fire, and set your meat mixture aside.
Heat up the rest of your oil, again over medium heat, in a large pot. Choppity chop your last remaining onion, crushing his tiny hopes that he wouldn't share the fate of his fallen brothers. Sauté it with another pinch o' salt until it yellows and smells awesome. Chop your Carrots and Sweet Potatoes into bite-sized chunks, and add them in along with your Crushed Tomatoes, Paprika, Lemon Juice, the rest of your Pepper, and about 2 TBSP of Salt. Let it cook together for about a minute before adding in...just a ton of water. Picture all the water in the world. Then picture that you took about 12 cups of water out of it. That much water (the 12 cups, not the rest of the water in the world). Crank the heat to high, and bring that sucker to a boil.
While you're waiting the approximate 1 lifetime for your pot to boil, make your dough. Combine your Semolina with an average human's pinch of salt, and 1.5 cups of water. Take a small handful of this goopy nonsense, and roll it into a ball. Gently use your finger to daintily from a divet in your dough. Then roughly cram as much of your meat mixture (remember your meat mixture? It was like 12 paragraphs ago.) into your divet, and stretch the dough around it to form a meat filled dough ball. Repeat as needed until you run out of meat, dough, or patience. Drop your fledgling Kubbehs in your boiling pot, and let them cook for a 1/2 hour. And there you have it! Delicious soup filled with awesomeness and grammar-based sectarian violence!
And that's what I've learned so far in Israel. That, and how to haggle with cab drivers. And with everybody else.