Cooked lentils and soaked bulgur stretch ground lamb (substitute ground beef, pork or turkey) for meatballs you skewer before roasting or grilling. Finish them off with a squeeze of lemon and the mint yogurt sauce. For a hearty appetizer or light meal, serve the kibbeh over baby spinach or salad greens and warm pita bread.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until it turns translucent, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Add the ginger, garlic, lentils, bulgur, parsley, mint,cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne and stir to combine. Break up the ground lamb and use your hands or a wooden spoon until very well combined.
Portion the ground beef mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs each. For best results, chill them on a baking sheet for at least 30 minutes.
To form the skewers, pierce the meatball through the middle with a wooden skewer, then squeeze gently with your palm to shape into an even cigar shape that adheres to the skewer and arrange them on a baking sheet. Chill until ready to cook.
Combine the yogurt, parsley, mint, lemon juice, sumac, if using, and salt in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning.
To roast, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange the skewers on a sheet pan. Cook turning the skewers once until nicely browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
To grill, preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat, scrape it well and oil it lightly. Grill the skewers (keeping the ends away from the main heat source), turning 2-3 times until nicely browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Serve the kibbeh with the yogurt sauce and the lemon wedges.
To cook the lentils: Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 1/3 cup of rinsed dry lentils and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir once, cover, and cook the lentils they are toothsome but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain well and cool by spreading them into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Yields about 2/3 cup.
To soak bulgur: Put 1/4 cup of dry bulgur in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup boiling water, cover and soak for 20 minutes until softened and cooled to room temperature. Yields about 1/2 cup.