Middle Eastern Style Open Faced Meat Pies With Lamb (Sfeeha)
I’ve always been intimidated by making my own dough, but it turns out that it can be really easy. These small meat pies are such a treat and totally worth the time it takes to make them. They’re quite simple to make, it’s just a little more time consuming than something where you don’t make your own dough. Serve these with a dollop of yogurt on the side.
They’re so delicious, it’s pretty much impossible to eat just one of them. Adjust the spices and seasonings to your preferences. The Lebanese seven spices can be found in some international grocery stores, and it’s also very easy to make your own. These pies are amazing when enjoyed warm and fresh out of the oven, or you can freeze some for later.
Our Lamb Comes From Lush Green PasturesOur lamb is raised on the North Island of New Zealand, in the incredibly beautiful foothills of Mount Ruapehu. The lambs are born and live their lives freely roaming the lush green landscape. These animals are raised by the Maori people native to New Zealand, and have been bred for generations for extraordinary taste and quality. They graze on verdant green grass rich with nutrients and are never given any type of antibiotics or growth hormones.
Why We Choose Lamb Raised In New ZealandLambs in New Zealand graze on some of the world’s most lush and nutrient rich pastures. The country enjoys a unique, subtropical climate that encourages animals and plants alike to flourish. New Zealand has some of the best conditions in the world for raising lamb, which might explain why their population outnumbers humans.
Cultural traditions in New Zealand make it the industry standard to raise meat humanely and naturally. New Zealand lamb is grass fed throughout its life, unlike American lamb which is often grain finished to encourage larger size and higher body fat percentage. New Zealand lambs are smaller in size, because they were allowed to grow and develop the way nature intended.
For the dough:
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- ½ tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the filling:
- 1 lb ground lamb
- ½ large onion finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2-3 teaspoons Lebanese 7 Spice (you can also make your own or substitute allspice)
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Chili flakes to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, combine all of the dough ingredients except for the milk. Make sure that the cup of milk is lukewarm (room temperature) not hot - if it’s too hot, it will kill the live yeast. Add the milk into the bowl and combine.
- Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth and consistent in texture.
- As a finishing touch, slam the dough onto the counter twice. This causes a reaction in the gluten that results in a fluffier texture.
- Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap in a large bowl and let it rise for approximately one hour, or until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, purée the onion and tomatoes in a high speed blender. Add them to a large bowl along with the ground lamb and the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Combine thoroughly.
- Place a large mesh strainer into a bowl. Working in batches if necessary, place the meat mixture into the strainer and allow any excess liquid to drain. Place strained meat filling into a separate bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The rack should be in the middle of your oven (move it before the oven gets hot). Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
- Flour a countertop to work the dough on. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into small balls about 1 ½ inch in diameter.
- With a rolling pin, roll each ball out to a circle about ¼ inch thick.
- Add about a tablespoon of the prepared meat filling to each dough circle. Pinch the corners (pinch two opposite corners at the same time) to create a rectangle or square shaped pastry around the meat.
- Place the pastries on the baking sheet with ample space between each one.
- Bake for approximately 12 minutes in the preheated oven. The dough should be golden brown and the meat cooked through.
- Serve and enjoy!