What do you do when you are bored? Some people paint, some people whine, some people sleep or watch TV, Peggy and I … we cook! Tonight’s recipe was sfeeha, little meat pockets that I am sure every Lebanese living abroad misses. We do!
Peggy and I found this recipe in a cookbook that I bought last year, Nadia Sawalha’s Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life. Though not Lebanese, the recipe was very similar to the one we know and looked absolutely delicious! We did change a little in the ingredients and the way we shape the little pockets, but we basically followed Sawalha’s way.
The basic ingredient of this recipe is minced meat, preferably beef. So, if you have minced meat in your fridge, you might want to try your hands at this authentic Lebanese recipe.
Sfeeha – 38 little pockets
For the dough:
450g bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast, dissolved in 125 ml of warm water
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
125ml olive oil
175ml plain yogurt
For the meat topping:
300g minced meat, beef
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp all spice
3 tsp pine nuts
2 tsp pomegranate syrup (you can omit this if you can’t find it where you live)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 small tomato, finely diced
4 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
On a clean surface, spread the flour in a mountain and make a well in the middle. Put in the rest of the ingredients and work the dough with your hands. Knead it well and shape it into a ball. Place it in a warm place covered with a towel for an hour or so.
In the meantime, mix all the ingredients of the topping (you can use your hands) to form a paste-like mix. Store in the fridge until your dough is ready.
When the dough has increased in size, preheat the oven to 375F/190C and start rolling out the dough. Roll out thinly and using a bowl with 10cm diameter, cut out circles. Place 1 tsp of the meat topping in the middle of the dough circles and then with your fingers, pinch the dough all around to close it, probably you’ll need to pinch 8 small knobs forming little pockets of meat.
Place the pockets on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or so. For best results, before placing the meat on the dough, poke the bottom of the dough circles with a fork.
There you go, 38 sfeehas enough for 7 people. We usually eat the sfeeha with a side bowl of cold salty yogurt, a perfect companion.