This kibbeh is made in layers with filling, as a sahnieh (in a casserole). Make it ahead and freeze the casserole raw, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed below. Or bake it ahead, refrigerate for up to two days or freeze, then reheat in the oven, thawed.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the stuffing: in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and about a half teaspoon of salt and sauté until soft. Add the ground beef and season with cinnamon, another half teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a metal spoon into small bits as it cooks. Squeeze the lemon juice over the househ, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Stir in the pine nuts and set aside to cool.
Coat a 9x13x2 inch baking dish with oil. Set up a small bowl of ice water where you are working and use the water to coat your hands as you flatten and shape the kibbeh. Use half of the kibbeh to form thin, a flat layer covering the bottom of the baking dish. Smooth the layer with cold water.
Spread the stuffing evenly over the flat kibbeh layer. Using the remaining kibbeh meat, form another thin, flat layer over the stuffing and smooth with cold water.
Score the top in squares (or the traditional diamond pattern) into the kibbeh, cutting through to the center layer but not all the way to the bottom of the dish.
Place a dab of butter on each square—this adds a wonderful savory flavor and moisture to the kibbeh. Bake in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the kibbeh is deep golden brown on top (place the kibbeh under the broiler if needed), otherwise it looks more like a mundane meatloaf than the kibbeh we love.