These savory Lebanese meat pies (known as sfeehas) get their irresistible flavor from clarified butter, toasted pine nuts and fragrant cinnamon.
Meat pies are a very popular dish throughout the world. Whether it’s empanadas in Spain, patties in Jamaica or pasties in Eastern Europe, it seems so many different cultures have their own version of a savory pie.
What are Middle Eastern Meat Pies? In my family, we grew up eating sfeehas also know as fatayer. Fatayer is a Middle Eastern meat pie that is filled with either meat and pine nuts, spinach or cheese (such as feta.) Part of the Levantine cuisine, fatayer is eaten in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.
What is in the Fatayer Filling? The filling is made of ground beef or lamb sauteed in clarified butter and seasoned with cinnamon and allspice. We also love adding toasted pine nuts but that is optional.
Is Fatayer Freezer Friendly?
Absolutely! In fact, we like to make them in large quantities and store them in the freezer. To reheat, simply bake at 350 until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To serve, we like to dip with plain yogurt but that is optional. While untraditional, my cousin also likes to dip them in A-1 sauce which now I’m hooked on as well!
What Can You Serve with Fatayer?
How Do You Make the Dough?
We typically buy store-bought pizza dough to save time otherwise you’ll need to make large batches of bread dough.
No forks required.
Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeeha's)
- Divide dough into small balls and roll to 1/8 inch thick. The rounds should be 3-4 inches wide. Let dough rest 20-30 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large pot, brown pine nuts in butter until golden brown being careful not to let burn. Remove from nuts from pan but leave any remaining butter.
- Add ground meat, onions, salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice to the pan and cook until meat is browned - about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts, yogurt and lemon juice. Let mixture cool slightly.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each round. (A stainless steel scoop is great for this step.)
- To begin folding the dough into a triangle, bring the bottom third up over the meat then bring another third of the dough to the first fold and pinch together to form a tight seal.
- Fold the final third over and pinch with the first two thirds of the dough to create a tightly pinched triangle. Repeat until you run out of dough.
- Place filled triangles on a greased baking sheet (or one lined with a silicone baking sheet) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and lightly brush with melted clarified butter.
- Serve with plain yogurt.
Check out more of my Lebanese Recipes by viewing my Pinterest board!