Ground Beef Sfeeha on Pita
The combination of ingredients and the presentation of this Ground Beef Sfeeha on Pita made for a unique and delicious Lebanese dish.
What is Sfeeha? It’s a Lebanese dish that is normally a mixture of ground lamb or beef with spices that is made inside a formed piece of bread. They are lovely but so time consuming; making Ground Beef Sfeeha on Pita with the same ingredients but using pita bread makes for a wonderful and MUCH easier dish to prepare. Customarily served with a salad; this dish has it all wrapped up in the pita.
I have been so immersed in trying things from different cultures and countries and it’s been a fun adventure. Maybe not as exciting as traveling but certainly fun in its own way.
My international culinary journey started with my contribution to the Peko Peko Charity Cookbook. I was asked to contribute a dish, something simple that most of us could actually make for our families and I had recently seen something I thought perfect; Sweet Potato French Fries that were seasoned with Furikake.
FuriWhatkee was my first thought. But my friend Rachael, the infamous LaFujimama said I could find some at an Asian market. I was on Google within moments and discovered an H Mart was within 15 minutes of my home and I was on my way!
Fast forward 2 months. In the interim I’ve been to the H Mart a couple of times. A second time where I discovered that the pork belly I had looked EVERYWHERE for in order to make Maple Bourbon Bacon was readily available and in a variety of cuts!
Then again last weekend after a meeting of Front Range Food Bloggers at my home. My friends Jane (No Plain Jane’s Kitchen), Ansh (Spice Roots), and Charmaine (Speakeasy Kitchen) pulled the arm of Andrea (ever so slightly I might add) with Fork Fingers Chopsticks and we were soon off. Yes, we bought more pork belly and other assorted goodies and then, as we were leaving, someone wondered if we also wanted to visit the Arash International Market directly across the street. Of course we did!
What a find! Spices galore only previously located at specialty spice stores. Sumac which I have previously only used for a favorite olive oil dipping sauce, Pomegranate Molasses which I had only seen before at a local spice shop at a ridiculously high price, some fabulous pita bread and some Tahini, which is basically ground sesame seeds and a necessary part of hummus which I wanted to try making.
Beyond the fresh plums and the dried fruit mix I also bought, I mostly did a lot of meandering around to check things out. So many wonderful new things to try that I knew would help to expand my repertoire of dishes I had previously avoided, assuming they would simply take too much time in the search for their unique ingredients.
It was fortuitous that a day or two later, I saw the blogger behind Kayln’s Kitchen tout a blog she had found and loved called Taste of Beirut. I went to check it out and lo and behold, the first dish I saw required in addition to ground beef – pomegranate molasses, tahini, sumac and pita bread; all items I had brought home from my international shopping spree. Didn’t it seem that fate was calling me to make this dish?
So I did! I have to admit…grinding up ground beef in my processor to make a paste…that alone was unique. I imagined that 7 spice was simply Chinese 5 spice with a couple more spices (wrong!). And I didn’t have yogurt cheese but had some queso cheese that Andrea had left behind from our blogger meeting. Why not? Mild and firm, I imagined it would be fine. And it was.
Simple, yes. Delicious? That too. So delicious that I’m having it again this week when I’ve got some friends dropping by. Wish me luck…this time it’s going on the grill!
This is sort of a Lebanese tortilla; rolled up to eat in a very similar manner. But the taste is from the other side of this world and it was divine. Honestly I still can’t believe I made a paste with ground beef but I’m over it; sure it’s unique and not something I’ve done, but isn’t that the beauty of learning some foods from different cultures. I am so hooked!
PIN IT! Ground Beef Sfeeha on Pita’
Ground Beef Sfeeha on Pita
- 1 pound of ground beef 98% fat free, if possible
- 4 ounces of chopped onion
- ½ cup of minced Italian parsley
- 3 Tablespoons of tahini
- 1 teaspoon of garlic paste 3 cloves of garlic mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
- 3 Tablespoons of labneh yogurt cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of seven-spice
- 1 teaspoon of sumac
- 1 teaspoon of hot Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon or more, to taste of dried chili flakes
For the Salad
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups of chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup of chopped onion or green onion
- 1 cup of pomegranate seeds optional; I didn't use them
- Dressing: 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of sumac
- Pita Bread
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Dash of allspice
- Chop the onion fine and combine with some salt; place it on a sieve lined with a paper towel and let the onion drain its juice for 30 minutes or so.
- Place the meat, spices, drained onion, chopped parsley, tahini, pomegranate molasses, labneh and garlic paste in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 2 minutes or until the mixture turns pasty. Transfer to a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a few baking sheets with foil. Place a pita on the foil and slather about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the meat mixture (depending on the size of the pita) on the pita, using a spatula to spread it as evenly as possible. Continue with the rest of the pitas.
- Bake for 7 minutes, checking halfway through. When the meat looks cooked, remove from the oven. Serve warm topped with the salad mixture.
Well I am late to this game but I tried goat for the first time several months back–ordered a shoulder from Grant Family Farms and did a slow braise. It was fantastic. I am totally onboard with introducing more Americans to goat!
My first attempt at goat meat started today. My own BBQ of sorts. Meat in mixture of tomatoes, peppers, spices for BBQ sandwiches. Just had my first bite; which was a strange, ‘go on, just do it moment’ and was so happy how good it was. Needs to braise longer but taste is terrific. Whew!
I added my goat cheese fro yo, with a little homemade granola on top. I love goat cheese, I could scream it form a roof top, I love it so much.
Me too Julia…and I love your fro yo. Yo…making some tonight or tomorrow!
Just added my Banana Blueberry milkshakes with goats milk…love this event!
Barb, this is an incredible dish and I love you venturing out. Looks super authentic my friend. Hiow to get a post in the nick of time soon.
I absolutely loved this Shulie. It was so easy and so fantastic…now have to do it again; hmm maybe with ground goat? 🙂
I LOVE the idea of goaterie. Can I submit posts I have all ready published?? Have never cooked goat meat, but I am now very tempted to.
Hey Barb. I love the goat theme. On the Mexican culinary front, all things goat are good – think cabrito (slow roasted), cajeta (goat-milk based caramel), cotija cheese. Now that this is Goaterie is going on, I’ll have to rethink my post schedule.
The sfeeha looks divine. It was a great day at the market.
Well now I expect you to rethink that schedule…it wouldn’t be the same without you! And it would be full circle too; you were there when I saw the goat meat. Can’t wait.
Thank you for sharing your link about goaterie! I love love goat cheese, but have not had goats milk yet…always wanted to try though! So I say I am in!
Take care, Terra
Glad to have you join us Terra!
Wow – what an interesting recipe Barb! I haven’t been on twitter much lately so missed all the goaterie talk. Thanks for asking me to submit the pasta; now I see all these cool recipes to check out!
Fun, huh? I can’t wait either…goat is up for me next.
OMG. I seriously love goats. I always tell my friends that I can’t wait until I have a house with a big yard so I can have goats! (and chickens… and a garden… dream big!) I will definitely be participating in this especially since I also adore Cypress Grove cheeses. I will definitely be on for the tweet chat too!
I don’t know if I could raise one for meat but sure would be fun to have a ready source for goat cheese. Glad you’re joining us!
thanks so much for inviting me to participate in this. Not sure my link worked, but here it is again: Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Sour Cherry Compote http://www.mangotomato.com/2011/07/jenis-ice-creams-goat-cheese-ice-cream.html
It worked perfectly and I just LOVE what you did Olga; thanks for participating!
I loved seeing your name in the list of contributors for the Peko Peko cookbook 🙂 just added the badge to my blog, writing my first goaterie post right now!
That contribution was momentous in a good way. Made me get to Korean market where I now go at least every two weeks. Across the street was the International market with the ingredients for this dish and the goat. I loved contributing to such a worthy cause and I’ve received so much back from that small effort.
wow this looks so good adore taste of beirut always learn so much from her
I LOVED it Rebecca. I mean it sounded good and all but it was the uniqueness that drew me in but I admit, with some trepidation…I mean meat paste? But it was flat out deliciousness!
ahahhaha goat tripping, only you Barb with your whimsy!! I am in just told you!! Looking forward to all the posts and excitment involved!!
Gotta have fun with the goat, right? Glad you’re joining us!
Can you tell I LOVE goat? i just discovered goat a few months ago when I was trying to make merguez and my farmer’s market didn’t have lamb and talked me into the goat. i’m looking forward to this-i already have my goat belly on order for next week. can’t wait to hear other goaterie-ers cooking tips and techniques! thanks for doing this! and BTW, cypress humboldt fog is my favorite cheese!
I can; can’t wait to see what you do new with it!
whew, Barb- that’s a lot o info in one post! I am pretty sure I followed it all, this sfeeha of which you speak is new to me. I linked up to the goaterie. Viva la capra.
The sfeeha was so good…I’m just sure you could put an experimental twist to it. But it’s basically ground beef and spices made into a paste; seemed weird but turned out wonderful.
So wonderful that an unplanned trip to an unknown (by you) market would result in this new blogging community venture of Goat Tripping with Goaterie! I have a feeling it will take off like Charcutepalooza did. Good luck with it and have fun! Looking forward to the posts.
Really, who knew? The find of that market was bonus enough but now I’m very excited to see what everyone does. You should join us…it’s not about the prizes, it’s about the adventure!
Hi Barb! I read this yesterday as soon as I got it on email and am looping back to comment. I’m very intrigued by this. First loved your recipe and photos. So warm and exotic! Really want to visit H Mart after Karen’s report earlier this year. Love poking around places like that. Also in the U.S. I tihnk we don’t realize how popular goat meat is in other parts of the world since it is not in our top most popular meats here. Of course I’m curious about a clean source for it too. Since I know the farmers and conditions for all my meat, I’ll be a bit twitchy on the goat front until id’ing a good source. Will be closely watching your exploits to learn more! Kudos for venturing out of the culinary mainstream and educating on this!
Because of Islamic law surrounding the preparation of their meats, I feel very comfortable purchasing goat from the local ethnic market. However, I am looking into a local source and considering a field trip!
The location on Parker Rd where both H Mart and Arash are located has other markets nearby…it’s sort of become ‘ethnic market row.’ I hadn’t been to that part of Aurora for years but now it seems I’m making a weekly trip. Not just for the unique either; their prices on some things can not be beat. French feta cheese, jars of sour cherries and the biggest and best stem of dill I’ve ever found in a grocery!
I’ll have to look into getting some goat for Eric. Thank you for sharing this dish with all of us! It looks wonderful!
It was wonderful and now you’ve got me thinking…what would I do if I were a Pescetarian? Maybe tabbouleh or quinoa with the same spices heated on the flatbread and topped with the salad. Bet that would be great too.
You can also do a dish with goat cheese or milk too…so even non meat eaters can join in!
Goat farming is growing here in Ireland too. I have a few foodie friends that raise goats for the milk and cheese (yum) and we can buy goat meat locally from our famers market.
Very interesting post and the recipe / spices are so tempting!
I hope you’ll join us in trying something and posting it. It’s not about the prizes so much as the camaraderie, right? 🙂
Is that Sfeeha something you could make with goat in place of beef?
Ok, gonna hit the middle eastern market and see if I can find goat meat!! This sounds like way too much fun to miss!!
Yay…glad to have you onboard. If there is a middle eastern market, well, they just have to have goat!!
Taste of Beirut is an awesome blog . Goatmeat has always been a favorite growing up due to to the African and West Indian influences around me. It really is a tasty meat.
Well, I hope you make something and join our challenge…although maybe this isn’t really a challenge for you!
Super excited about the Goaterie! Trying to track some goat down now!! Delicious looking recipe, too! =)
Thanks Alan…now want to get some ground goat and try it! So glad you’re joining us!
Wow, what a market. And how fun seeing how your version of the dish turned out.
I’m beyond excited about discovering it…opens up the doors to a lot of new things I’ve previously only eaten at restaurants.
I’m very excited about joining the Goaterie! I hope I’ll have time to explore meat, milk, AND cheese during the month. Thanks to you and Rachael for putting this together.
And I’m excited you’re excited! Can’t wait to see what everyone does with all things goat!
Glad you gave this a try and loved it; as you become more familiar with the use of middle-eastern ingredients, you will be using them in all kinds of familiar dishes; I thought I had provided a link on how to make labneh; basically, you take some plain yogurt (whole-milk if possible) and pour into a sieve lined with a coffee filter or paper towels; let the yogurt drain overnight, covered loosely with plastic in the fridge. The next day, you have labneh; add a touch of salt and drizzle some olive oil and this is our typical lebanese breakfast cheese eaten with bits of pita bread and some diced tomatoes. I have published a few recipes using goat cheese and would like to be a part of this event.
I did love it…and this week I really am going to try it on the grill; heating up one side and then cooking the sfeeha on the other side. Thanks so much for the additional information; I’m modifying my post to include your directions. I have yogurt in the fridge all the time but even if I had…would have probably used the queso since I didn’t want to wait another day!
So glad you’re joining us in the event…it should be fun and a great learning exercise.
Labne is something we have here in Turkey. It is pretty close to sour cream and cream cheese mixed together in equal portions OR a very thick, drained yogurt (drain a very good, non sour yogurt in a colander through several layers of paper towel until it has thickened to a near cream cheese like consistency).
Thank you; I’m going to modify the post and include that information; much appreciated.
First off, I love ethnic markets! They always have the most interesting ingredients, and amazing prices. We have a new Indian market here and I wandered in the other day – unbelievable!
Second, loving the goaterie thing. I was just reminiscing yesterday about when my Jamaican roommate in college cooked up some curried goat for us. So good. Count me in!
I’m just a bit perturbed at myself for not seeking them out sooner. It seems this one stretch of road not that far from me has several…so it’s been a weekly excursion. Have yet to hit the Russian and Greek markets…but will be very soon. Glad to have you joining us!
That supermarket is awesome! I wish such places existed here…
Your dish is to die for! I am drooling. Middle Eastern cuisine is so fabulous.
I really have to cook with goat. That is a meat I have only eaten once, in Greece.
Then you must join the challenge! I’ve never had goat so will be interesting for all of us!
Only you. But it means so much. 🙂