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.