LEBANESE MEAT PIES (SFEEHAS)

Lebanese meat pies or sfeehas are savory pastries that are traditionally served like pizzas or as little triangles of doughy bread stuffed with a flavorful ground lamb or beef filling. Lebanese meat pies can be made in large sizes to be eaten for a main meal or smaller for appetizers!

Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)Hello lil’ triangles of deliciousness, we ‘meat’ again. Okay, that was bad horrible. Or we could just call them what normal people call them – Lebanese meat pies. That’s totally not as fun to say though.

Lebanese meat pies or sfeehas bring back a lot of childhood memories for me. They’re the epitome of ethnic comfort food. When my brother and I were little my parents use to buy these from a small little Lebanese bakery for us. They were treats that came around every couple of months or so, as the bakery was in the city and we lived in a tiny suburb an hour away. I have distinct memories of cold, blizzardous (not a word, I know) winters, wearing ugly sweaters, corduroy pants, and eating warm sfeehas (or sfihas, however you spell it) by the fireplace. Okay, so the ugly sweaters and corduroy aren’t as fond to remember, obvi. But I just HAD to paint the whole picture for you there.

Moving right along…

Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)I made my Lebanese meat pies into large, dinner/lunch sized portions because that’s how I remember them being. These can also be made smaller to serve as appetizers. If you’re making large ones, you’ll end up with 16. Appetizer portions will make about 32.

Let’s jump right into this recipe. I want to make sure that I explain everything step-by-step so that it’s easy to do at home.

The first step is the dough. Put the flour, powdered milk, salt, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Give it a good whisk so that all the ingredients are mixed. Create a well in the middle, you’re going to add the oil and the eggs in the center.

Using a wooden spoon, stir as you add the warm water. When the dough starts to come together, dump it out onto a work surface.

Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. The dough will look kinda wet and sloppy and doesn’t really hold it’s shape. Place it in a bowl and loosely cover it with plastic wrap or a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot, like the oven (turned off, of course). Let rise for 1 hour. While it’s rising, prepare the filling.

Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes. They should just start to turn translucent. Add the ground beef or lamb. Brown the meat for 10-12 minutes. Increase the flame to medium high and add the tomatoes. Continue to cook for 8-9 more minutes.

Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeeha or Sfiha) 14Add the salt, cinnamon powder, all spice powder, cayenne powder, and the sumac powder. Give it a stir. Add the tahini paste and pomegranate molasses. Let it cook for 1 more minute. Turn the stove off and add the lemon juice and chopped parsley. Let the filling cool for 15 – 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 16 equal sized balls for larger sfeehas or 32 for appetizer sized ones. Before rolling out each dough ball spread about a teaspoon or 2 of flour on the work surface. Roll the dough ball around so that it takes in the flour. The dough is going to feel somewhat oily, don’t be tempted to add more flour than the 1 -2 teaspoons mentioned. Roll out the dough into a 5-6 inch circle.

Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center (for larger sfeehas, for smaller ones use 1 tablespoon). Grab 2 ends and bring them over the filling. Pinch the dough as you go to create a seal, stop at the center. Bring the last side up and pinch the center and down the 2 sides. Place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Let the lebanese meat pies rest for at least 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.

LEBANESE MEAT PIES (SFEEHAS)Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until they start turning lightly golden brown. Mine took exactly 12 minutes. Serve them warm or at room temperature with cold greek yogurt as a dip or with lemon wedges.

LEBANESE MEAT PIES (SFEEHAS)Just a last little note: I know it looks like a lot of oil. Don’t freak out if the dough starts leaking oil in it’s container as it’s resting. It’s normal. You don’t want the bread to be dry. I adapted this recipe from Jerusalem A Cookbook. It’s a point that the author strongly stresses. The dough is suppose to be super wet, don’t add much flour as it changes the texture of the bread.

Now come on, get to making Lebanese meat pies, you’re gonna love ‘em!

Lebanese Meat Pies (sfeehas)Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)

5 from 1 reviews
LEBANESE MEAT PIES (SFEEHAS)
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Lebanese meat pies or sfeehas are savory pastries that are traditionally served like pizzas or as little triangles of doughy bread stuffed with a flavorful ground lamb or beef filling. Lebanese meat pies can be made in large sizes to be eaten for a main meal or smaller for appetizers!
Author:
Serves: 16 large sfeehas or 32 appetizer sized
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 3⅔ cup self rising flour + additional more for rolling dough
  • 3 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 3 teaspoon quick-rising active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ cup oil (such as canola or vegetable)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)
For the sfeeha filling:
  • 2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sumac powder
  • 6 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Serve with:
  • greek yogurt
  • lemon wedges
Instructions
For the dough:
  1. Put the flour, powdered milk, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Give it a good whisk so that all the ingredients are mixed. Create a well in the middle, add oil and eggs to well. Using a wooden spoon, stir as you add the water. When the dough starts to come together, dump it out onto a work surface. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. Dough will look wet and sloppy and doesn't really hold it's shape. Place it in a bowl and loosely cover it with plastic wrap or a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot, like the oven (turned off, of course) for 1 hour. While it's rising, prepare the filling.
For the sfeeha filling:
  1. Heat the ghee in a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes. They should just start to turn translucent. Add the ground beef or lamb. Brown the meat for 10-12 minutes. Increase the flame to medium high and add the tomatoes. Continue to cook for 8-9 more minutes or until the tomatoes start to shrivel and most of the liquid dries up.
  2. Add the salt, cinnamon, all spice, cayenne, and sumac. Give it a stir. Add the tahini paste and pomegranate molasses. Let it cook for 1 more minute. Turn the stove off and add the lemon juice and chopped parsley. Let the filling cool for 15 - 20 minutes.
To assemble the meat pies:
  1. Divide the dough into 16 equal sized balls for larger sfeehas or 32 for appetizer sized ones. Before rolling out each dough ball spread a teaspoon or two of flour on work surface. Roll the dough ball around so that it takes in the flour. The dough is going to feel somewhat oily, don't be tempted to add more flour. Roll out dough into a 5-6 inch circle.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center (for larger sfeehas, for smaller use 1 tablespoon). Grab 2 ends and bring them over the filling. Pinch dough as you go to create a seal, stop at the center. Bring the last side up and pinch the center and down the two sides. Place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, 6 per sheet for large and 12 for minis. (see pictures in post for detailed step-by-step directions).
  3. Let pies rest for 10-15 minutes while the oven is preheating. Place 2 racks equal distance apart from each other in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they start turning lightly golden brown. Mine took exactly 12 minutes. Serve them warm or at room temperature with cold greek yogurt as a dip or with lemon wedges.
Marzia's Notes
Meat pies can be store in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days and can be baked and frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat frozen meat pies, place in a 250 degree oven until they warm through, about 12-15 minutes.
Recipe slightly adapted from Jerusalem A Cookbook

 

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Comments

  1. says

    You have an amazing website and your photography skills are awesome :)…I have spinach and meat pies when I visit middle eastern places and I love it. Will definitely give it a try.

  2. says

    Hi! I came across your blog on Tastespotting and I love it! These sfeehas also brought me some good memories, as they are very popular in Brazil (my home country)! We called them esfihas! :-) Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  3. says

    Meat pies – of all ethnic cuisines – are one of my very favorite foods. Chinese pork buns, empanadas, Ukrainian pierogi – I’ll take ‘em! These sound great. I’ve never heard of this variety before.

    Looove the blue and pink Crate & Barrell bowls, by the way. I’ve been eyeing them for months :)

  4. says

    This recipe sounds wonderful but very fattening! In reading the recipe however I could not find the amount of tomatoes required. I happen to have everything on hand to make this except the oil! Can’t wait to get started!

    • Marzia says

      Hi Stacy,
      Yes it does have some fattening ingredients, totally agree with you there. I’m just hoping no one asks for the nutritional content on these – I for one do not want to face that reality!

      Thanks for picking that up! I indeed forgot to right how many tomatoes were needed. So sorry about that. It’s 3 tomatoes, diced. I’ve also added it in the recipe card.

      Hope you enjoy them! =)

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