Sfeeha or Lebanese Meat Pies

On my first bite I swooned and exclaimed: “oh, these are good!” All before I realized that praising your own food with so much gusto is not really the done thing. But these meat pies were so good I repeated myself with the next bite…

I combined a few ideas from different recipes and then cooked a little test meatball in a frying pan. To my surprise the filling only needed some additional salt -but I am sure I was just lucky. I would definitely suggest testing your mix and adding more spices if necessary.
Next to being absolutely delicious, these bites are also incredibly convenient! You can prepare them and them freeze them uncooked. When you want to serve them you just pop them in the oven straight from the freezer.

(dough based the blog ‘Wandering Spice’. Cannot remember where I found the meat filling)
makes 20

125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
125g  (1 cup) self-raising flour (= 125g flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

65ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
about 170ml  (2/3) cup water
1 tsp of cumin seeds

20g (1/3 cup) pine nuts
1 apple
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh parsley
1/2 bunch fresh mint
400g lamb mince
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 -1 teaspoon of crushed chilies
1-2 teaspoons of salt
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Optional: fresh mint for decoration
Optional: pomegranate seeds for decoration

1. Sift flours in a bowl. Add sugar, salt and oil. Gradually mix in as much water as needed to bring together a loose dough. Add the cumin seeds and knead for a few minutes until soft and pliable. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 15-10 minutes.
2. Roast the pine nuts in a frying pan without oil.
3. Grate the apple, onion and garlic. Chop the herbs. Add the mince meat and spices. Combine quickly. Do not over knead.
4. Form a little ball and fry until cooked. Taste the meat ball and adjust the seasoning.
5. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
6. Cut the pastry into four pieces. Roll each piece out thin enough to cut out 5 rounds of 9 cm. The dough has a tendency to shrink. You can give the cut out rounds another roll.
7. Place about 1 tbsp of the meat mixture in the center of the dough. Pinch the rounds together to form a square.
8. Arrange the pies on a baking tray and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
9. Or place the baking tray in the freezer. After a few hours the shifas will be frozen solid and can be transferred to a zip-lock bag. They can be baked straight from frozen in about 25-30 minutes.
10. Optional: decorate with mint and pomegranat.

1 comment
  1. Liz said:

    It sound very very delicious. That dough is new to me, so I’m curious to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

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