Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tasty Mediterranean Meat Pies - Fiteer Bil Lahma

These meat pies have a great Middle-Eastern flavor and are pretty easy to make. They make a great school day lunch or a perfect party hors h'oeuvres. They don't need to be served hot and can be made in a variety of sizes.
They freeze well and will easily last 6 months in the freezer.

I like to make them with lean ground lamb, but you can also make them with a mixture of lamb and beef. I just feel that lamb gives a more authentic flavor, but a little lamb goes a long way in taste, so go ahead and mix in other meats. No reason that you cannot substitute chicken or turkey for that matter.

These pies can be eaten warm or at room temperature. The meat mixture in recipe is very tasty and can also be served over rice or pasta. It also works as a vegetable stuffing. One time I even ate the stuffing in a sandwitch

  • 1/4 Cup Lizabetti's Mediterranean Dry Rub
  • 1/2 Lb. Ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Small Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese - Not a traditional ingredient, but it helps seal in the juices. You can omit this to reduce fat.
  • 1 lb ball of pizza dough or bread dough. You can make your own dough, my local pizza parlor sells gread dough balls that I use for all kinds of dishes.
  • 1/4 Cup of Sesame Seed. Substitute flax seeds for a boost of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • 1 Tbsp Milk. Use any type you have, this is just to hold the sesame seeds to the pies.

Meat Mixture:
  1. Pre-Heat a fry pan to medium high and then add the olive oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook until the onions are clear then push them to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the meat to the empty side of the pan and spread it out. Do not mix the meat with the onions at this time.
  4. Brown the meat to a light tan color.
  5. Mix the garlic into the onions.
  6. Add the dry rub mixture to the meat and work it in.
  7. Add the onion/garlic mixture to the meat and stir.
  8. Stir in the pine nuts.
  9. Stir in the tomato paste. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and transfer the meat to a mixing bowl.
  11. Mix in the cheese. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile you can work the dough.

Build the Pies:
    1. Punch down the dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Roll it into a large rectangle.
    2. Place small piles of the meat mixture along the edge of the dough about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
    3. Use a basting brush to moisten the dough just beyond the piles of meat.
    4. Roll the edge of the dough over the meat piles
    5. Cut the rolled portion of the dough off from the rest of the dough.
    6. Cut the individual pies, use a fork to press down all the edges.
    7. Repeat this process until you use up the dough or the meat mixture.
    8. Poke each of the pies with a toothpick at least 5 times. It is important that you do this or the pies will explode in the oven.
    9. Coat a cookie sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
    10. Place the pies on the cookie sheet.
    11. Brush the milk on the pies and quickly sprinkle with sesame seeds before the milk soaks in.
    12. Bake on 375 for 30 minutes or until the pies are a golden brown.
    13. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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