February 19, 2008

I [heart] Meat Pies.

Taste & Create is "a gathering point for the food-blogger community to come and have their recipes tested by their peers." Each participant is given a food blogging partner. Everyone then has to cook one recipe on their partner's blog & blog about it themselves

For my first month participating, I was paired up with Chris & Lisa from We [heart] Food. These two seem to be very adventurous chefs, and I had a hard time deciding what to make from all their yummy looking dishes. At first, I considered the chipotle bean burgers, because I had already bookmarked that page. The seafood meatballs were tempting, too. However, I finally decided on the lahmajoun (Aremenian meat pies) because it was an ambitious recipe that would force me to [finally!] make dough.

I was really nervous about the making dough part, as I have no confidence in my baking skills and all previous attempts at dough-like foods have resulted in disaster. As I was kneading the dough, I kept thinking of how I'm always reading about how making dough is such a soothing activity. Not so! Kneading dough for just 10 minutes sucked ass! It was hard! The dough was firm, not the soft, pliable dough I expected. I was worried that I was doing something wrong, that it wouldn't rise correctly, and that I wouldn't have the promised meat pies for my guests. So, I came up with a "Plan B" in case I screwed it all up...making patties or balls with the meat mixture, then shoving them into pita bread with some cucumber sauce (which, I think, would still be pretty tasty!).

However, I was so impressed with my results, that I may attempt [gasp] bread soon! Dough isn't so hard after all!

Anyway, these meat pies involve rolling the dough (after mixing, kneading, and rising for 2 hours) into thin circles, topping each with an herby, spicy meat mixture, then baking until crisp. I served them with a cucumber/dill/yogurt sauce similar to the salad Chris & Lisa posted.

Kelly says:
I can't believe how good these turned out! Yeah, me!

Jesse says:
Mmm, these are really good. The meat is so flavorful.

Jerad says:
Yeah, and it actually tastes better with the cucumber stuff on it...and I don't even like cucumbers--or dill--usually!

Sara says:
There is a lot of meat left over; you could make meatballs with it!

Jerad says:
Or meatloaf.

Kelly says:
Meatloaf, schmeatloaf, double beatloaf.

Jerad says:
Meat pie, schmeat pie, double beatpie.

Sara says:
Taste the meat pie. Smell the meat pie. Sense the meat pie. Love the meat pie.

Kelly says:
We should write an ode to meat pies.

Jesse says:
Yeah, and it would begin with "An Ode to Meat Pies, I love thee so. You are so crunchy, with your dough."


For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

For the meat topping:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (or lamb)
2 large tomatoes (seeded & chopped)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (reduce unsweetened pomegranate juice)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cumin
salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste

  • To make the dough: Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture stand about 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the remaining 1/2 cup water, the yeast mixture, and the oil. Blend the mixture until it forms a dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, sprinkling with just enough additional flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the meat topping: In a medium heavy skillet heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, tomatoes, and tomato paste and mix well.
  • Add the parsley, mint, and pine nuts, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, mixed spices, salt, pepper, & red pepper.
  • Drain the onions of oil and add to the meat mixture.
  • Knead the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Divide into 16 equal portions and set aside.
  • Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and arrange the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly floured board. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out each of the balls into a circle that is no more than 1/8" thick. Arrange the circles slightly apart on large, lightly greased baking sheets.
  • Top each circle with a portion of the meat mixture, spreading evenly to the edge. Bake the pies in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Kelly says:
I think these would be really good with some cheese (feta!) on top or mixed in with the meat.


Lisa said...

Wow, I'm *so* impressed...those look awesome! :) I grew up eating lahmajoun and it took me over 30 years to get enough courage to try making them. (and I see you're A Christmas Story fan? ;) )

KELLY said...

Haha. Yep. I'm glad you caught the Christmas Story reference. ;-)

The pies were REALLY good; everyone liked them a bunch. I will definitely make them again!

And soon...those bean burgers!!

Chris said...

Those *do* look good.
Lisa, make these again please.