Sunday, October 21, 2012


Sambousek is a Middle Eastern meat pie, but if you google it you will most likely find recipes for smaller appetizer versions with a variety of fillings and methods.  This version is the one that my husband grew up eating and I learned to make by watching his mother when I was dating him.  It is a much larger meal-sized version that is baked rather than fried.  It is delicious and everyone gets excited when I make it at our house.

The meat filling is typically made with minced lamb or beef.  I usually hand cut a pound of chuck roast, but this easier version is made with ground beef which is tasty although not authentic.
3 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
In the bowl of a mixer add warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then add egg and flour.  Using a dough hook, mix until dough forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Dough should be smooth and elastic.  Continue mixing dough with hook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove dough and divide into 12 equal balls.  Place balls on a clean towel lined with plastic wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and another towel, let rise for about 2 hours.

1 pound ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 small onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
salt and pepper
In a large pot add a tablespoon of oil and the onions.  Fry the onions over medium heat until translucent and tender.  Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.  Add ground beef and seasonings, cook until beef is completely cooked through.  Taste mixture and adjust seasonings...I find that I want the filling to have a lot of flavor because once it is inside the bread it seems to taste bland if I don't "over season" it.
In a small pan toast almonds until golden and then add to meat mixture.  Allow to cool.

To assemble:
Place one ball of dough on a floured surface and roll out to a thin disc about 8 inches in diameter.  Place a 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the middle.  Grab the dough at 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock and pull together and crimp the seam.  Then pull the dough up at 6 o'clock and crimp the bottom seam to completely seal in the meat mixture.  Turn over and place on a cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Brush tops with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place an empty cookie sheet inside.  When oven is hot place meat pies on heated cookie sheet and bake until dough is browned on top, 8-12 minutes.

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