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Lebanese meat pies (sfeeha or fatayer) are a traditional dish fit for the family. It is savory bread dough filled with a ground beef mixture with Mediterranean spices and lemon then baked to perfection.
What is a sfeeha? Lebanese Meat Pies (aka Fatayer, or sfiha)
Lebanese meat pies, or sfeeha, are savory bread dough rolls filled with a Lebanese meat filling of either ground beef or ground lamb, onions and Mediterranean spices, as well as pine nuts. These delicious meat pies are a Middle Eastern staple. They are also know as fatayer, but fatayer can also include a different kind of filling with spinach, cheese.
When I think of Lebanese food and family functions, it cannot be complete without Lebanese meat pies. These are so traditional and a staple in any Lebanese home. Usually it is made with ground lamb, but after my family immigrated to the U.S. they began to use beef instead of lamb.
If your child is a picky eater, try this recipe. It is delightful and it’s rather addicting. A whole recipe makes about 36 meat pies and our family of 6 eats most of them in one sitting.
This dish is a little time consuming, so grab your helper, and make sure to make the full recipe! They can always be frozen after baking them. They reheat perfectly in the oven.
What are the ingredients for sfeeha?
The ingredients for the most typical meat fatayer, or sfheeha, inlcudes: bread dough, lean ground beef or ground lamb, onions, ground black pepper, salt, pine nuts (or in this recipe celery) and lemon juice.
How to make Lebanese meat pies
Start off with one large package of frozen yeast dough balls. I find this at my local grocery store, I buy the store brand. They come with 36 in a package so it is perfect to make with this recipe. Put them in the fridge for several hours to thaw. If you want to make these completely from scratch, then make it with the dough recipe from my Pita Bread recipe.
But for ease of use, get the frozen store-bought dough rolls!
In a pan on medium heat, brown the ground beef with the chopped onions, celery (or pine nuts), cinnamon, salt and pepper. THAT SMELL IS AMAZING!!! I’m pretty sure that this ground beef mixture is one of the best aromas on earth.
When the ground beef is browned, drain the grease and squeeze the lemon into the meat mixture and mix well. Let it cool off for 10-15 minutes before filling the bread dough rolls.
Video of how to fold meat pies
Roll out the dough into a thin 1/8 inch circle, using flour if need be. Put 1 Tbls. of the meat mixture into the center. Fold together the top, making a crease down to the middle, then fold the bottom into the middle, making another crease and it becomes a triangle. Follow the steps below.
Place each meat pie on a non-stick baking sheet. After they are all assembled, cover the meat pies with a kitchen towel or with plastic wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. These are soooooo delicious! You won’t be able to stop eating them! Serve them with some Lebanese Labneh or with this Mint Yogurt Sauce!
Are sfeehas freezer friendly?
YES! This is one thing I LOVE about this Lebanese Sfeeha recipe! Go head and freeze the leftovers after they are already baked! You can freeze them in a plastic zipper bag for up to 3 months.
How to thaw and reheat frozen meat pies
Take the meat pies from the freezer and transfer them onto a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven until they are heated through, or for about 10-15 minutes. They should taste just as fresh as when they were prepared.
Lebanese Meat Pies
- 1½ lb. lean ground beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 teas salt
- ½ teas pepper heaping
- ½ teas cinnamon heaping
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or the juice of one lemon
- 1 package frozen yeast dough balls (about 36)
- Thaw the frozen bread dough
- Brown and drain ground beef, celery, onions, salt, pepper and cinnamon together
- Add lemon juice and stir, let it cool for 10-15 minutes before stuffing the dough balls
- Roll the dough ball to about ⅛ " circle using flour if it sticks
- place 1 tbsp of meat mixture in the middle
- fold into a triangle using these steps
- place assembled meat pies on a non-stick cookie sheet
- cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes
- bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until golden brown
- Follow all of these steps but only bake it bout 15 minutes. Pull it out before it's all the way done and let it cool
- Freeze in a freezer bag
- Pull out of the freezer and place on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes
- Bake in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes or until golden brown