Friday, June 8, 2007

Sfeeha

family recipe from Syria called sfeeha, a dish featuring ground beef with spices and other ingredients that are stuffed into pizza dough and baked in the oven.

Dough:
20 mL (4 tsp) yeast
5 mL (1 tsp) sugar
300 mL (1 1/4 cup) lukewarm water
175 mL (2/3 cup) butter or margarine
875 mL (3 1/2 cups) allpurpose flour
7 mL (1 1/2 tsp) salt

Topping:
45 mL (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 kg (2 pounds) diced lamb or beef (the size of raisins) or half diced and half ground
75 mL (1/4 cup) pine nuts
10 mL (2 tsp) salt
2 mL (1/2 tsp) black pepper
5 mL (1 tsp) allspice
2 mL (1/2 tsp) red hot pepper flakes
2 mL (1/2 tsp) citric acid (to give a much desired tangy flavour)
dash cinnamon
250 mL (1 cup) natural yogurt
melted butter or margarine

Preparation:

To make the dough start by adding yeast and sugar to water and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile cut butter into the flour until it becomes the size of lentils. Add salt to the yeast mixture, dissolve and add to flour. Mix until dough holds together. Knead a bit. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning so all sides are greased. Cover and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk.

To prepare topping, pour oil into a large frying pan. Add onions and fry until wilted. Add meat and saute until brown. Drain off excess liquids. Add pine nuts, salt and spices. Leave until completely cooled (half an hour or more). Stir in yogurt.

Brush baking pans with melted butter. Punch down dough and cut into pieces about the size of an egg. Work each piece in the palm of your hand, roll into a smooth ball, place on a flat surface. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Place a number of balls on the baking tray and press each ball with the tips of your fingers and flatten to about 3/4 cm (1/3 inch) thick - about the size of the palm of your hand. Spread each round generously with topping. Bake in a 180C (300F) oven until bottoms are lightly golden brown - about 25-30 minutes. Broil tops just a touch, being careful not to overdo it.





Serve piping hot or warmed up, accompanied by a bowl of yogurt to be spooned over the pies if desired.

Makes about 22 pies

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