Lebanese meat pies “sfeeha”

Remember a while back when I talked about starting a gratitude or smile journal? Well I thought I would take Natalie’s example and making it part of my posts. I won’t promise it to be a part of each and every post but I will do my best. So here are the things that made me smile today:

  • School is finally over! My little one finished her last exam yesterday… hooray!
  • My potato pizza made it into food buzz top 9 for today…I was thrilled when I read a comment from Nami that said congratulation! Thank you sweet Nami :)
  • Speaking of sweet people, Manu of Manu’s menu awarded me the versatile blogger award. Manu is an amazingly creative and warm person, I see her sweet and encouraging comments in most of the blogs I read. She always has something great to say and you can feel her words are coming from the heart.Thank you Manu.Please take the time to visit and enjoy her blog.You’ll love it.
  • I decided to start a window mini garden, I had already got 2 small mint plants and a pot with a basil plant 2 weeks ago,thebasil is a mini tree now lol I love to shake it gently in the morning and the smell of basil fells the kitchen. I bought a 4 small flower plants and I’m planning to arrange the whole thing over the weekend :) and have some pictures to post for you next week

Today’s recipe is a family favorite. It can be a main meal, a snack or a party appetizer depending on your preference and the size you make them.

There are MANY recipes out there for the dough and the stuffing, this is my favorite. You may find the addition of tahini,pomegranete molassess and labaneh (drained greek yogurt) a bit strange but they do transform the taste of the meat and take it to the next level..still ,they are entirely optional.

You can knead the dough in the food processor or by hand.I like doing it by hand especially when I am having a bad day. It is a great way to vent anger or frustration. You can punch the dough, slam it against the table, get it all out without anyone getting hurt..it is even good for the dough lol

The trick in keeping these pies from opening up during baking is to wet the edges of the dough with a little water before you shape it, that will seal the dough together and prevent it from opening once baked.

Meat pies (sfeeha)

To make the dough

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup water

To make the stuffing

500 grams ground beef

1 medium onion chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon Tahini(optional)

1 tablespoon labaneh(optional..you can replace it with sour cream)

1  tablespoon pomegranate molasses

Salt to taste

1/2 tablespoon dried mint

Proof the yeast by mixing the yeast, sugar and water and waiting for the yeast to foam and bubble. (if it doesn’t bubble you need to discard it and start over with new yeast)

In a bowl whisk together the flour and salt till combined

Add the oil and then rub it into the flour mix with your fingertips

Add the water/ yeast mixture and knead the dough untill it forms a smooth soft ball that doesn’t stick to your hands (a tip from a bakery owner I know, lift the dough and slam it into the table 7-10 times during kneading. That will give your baked goods that fluffy cotton like interior)

Cover a bowl with a little olive oil,place your dough it and cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place untill it doubles in size (If you are short on time, heat your oven to 200 C and place the rack in the middle. Turn it off. Place a clean towel on the rack and place the bowl with your covered dough on the towel and leave it in the closed oven. It will double in size in 10-15 minutes)

Cut the dough into egg sized balls and cover them with a clean towel and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.

To make the stuffing saute the onions in the olive oil untill translucent.

Add the ground beef and spices and stir untill it is half done.

Add the molasses, tahini,labaneh and mint. Stir to combine.

To assemble the sfeeha

Oil your baking sheets.

Center your oven rack

Heat your oven to 270 C (or the highest setting or temperature your oven can get to )

Roll the dough ball into a small circle, place the stuffing in the center.

Wet 1 cm of the dough circumference with water using a brush or your finger.

Take two sides of the dough circle and seal them together by pinching them between your finger and thumb

Repeat that with the other sides of the circle untill you get 4 corners.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

If you are making a big amount make sure you cover the meat pies with a clean cloth while they are resting or the surface will dry and crack once you bake them.

When the whole amount is ready re-pinch the sealed dough margins together to make sure they are sealed tight.

Brush the dough with some Powdered milk dissolved in a little water (you want it to be of thick consistency). You can use an egg wash but I personally hate the smell of eggs that the egg wash leaves.

Bake your meat pies for 10 minutes or untill the under side is golden. (They will buff up as they bake so don’t place them too close to each other on the baking sheet)

Place them under the broiler untill the tops are golden brown

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Make yourself a cup of tea and ENJOY