Arayes - Meat Stuffed Pitas

You can find these all over Israel now, thanks to M25 Restaurant, but they became popular in the Arab markets in the Galilee. Ideally you want to grill these, if you can, but here is a version using your oven.

The Stuff:

  • 2 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 lb. ground lamb, or a mix of 2/3 lamb and 1/3 beef
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 3 teaspoons Never Not Eating Baharat spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon Never Not Eating Chraime spice bend
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  • 6 pita, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil, to brush the pita
  • Green onion and pickled peppers, for serving
  • Tahini sauce, for dipping

The Method:

  1. Preheat the oven or grill to 400°F.
  2. Make a paste with the onion, parsley and garlic in your food processor, and then put in a clean towel and wring out any additional liquid.
  3. In a bowl, combine the meat, spices, oil, tomato paste and pomegranate molasses, then add the paste, mixing well. It’s good to use your hands here and get dirty, to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Cut the pita breads into quarters. Fill each quarter with a generous amount the meat mixture, packing it in with your hands, so that the filling is even.
  5. Heat a pan or cast iron over medium high until smoking, and sear each side of the pita with the meat exposed for 2-3 minutes. Then remove to a prepared baking sheet in a single layer, and brush with the oil on both sides. If grilling, just sear on the hot grill.
  6. Cook for about 15 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes to ensure even browning.
  7. Enjoy with some raw or grilled green onion, pickled peppers, and tahini sauce for dipping.

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