Lebanese sfeeha or sometime called lahm bi ajeen, which basically means lamb in dough, are amazing little meat pies that full of flavor and simply delicious.  The dough is basically like a pizza dough and they are either served open face like a mini pizza or sometimes the meat is wrapped within the dough like a turnover.  It is made with the spice blend known as Lebanese seven spice which consists of equal part of ground: nutmeg, ginger, allspice, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.


For the dough:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered milk (buttermilk is fine)
  • Olive oil, as needed for stretching the dough
  • 1 cup of warm water (110F)

For the filling:

  • 3/4  pound of ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons of labneh (or drained yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup (packed)of  flat-leaved parsley (leaves only)
  • 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice,1 teaspoon of sumac, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mashed garlic (about 3 cloves)

ALSO READ: Three Cheese Samosa

METHOD Of Sfeeha

  1. First prepare the dough: in a small bowl, pour 2 ounces of warm water (110F) and add two teaspoons of dry yeast; add two teaspoons of sugar and mix well to combine; let the yeast boil in a warm, closed place. Meanwhile, place the flour, baking powder, salt and powdered milk in the bowl of the food processor.
  2. Process to combine well; add 1/4 cup olive oil and mix for one or two minutes until the mixture is very sandy. At this point, add the leavened yeast mixture with another 3/4 cup of warm water; when the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, it is ready and you can transfer it to a greased bowl and turn it over to coat it with oil and let it rest in a warm, closed place to rise for a few hours until that it doubles in size.
  3. Prepare the meat mixture: Chop the onion as thin as possible and sprinkle with salt, allspice, sumac and a pinch of cinnamon. Place the chopped onion on a sieve and let its water come out. Meanwhile, place the meat in a bowl and add the salt, pepper and red pepper paste and tomato paste. Add the chopped parsley leaves, pomegranate molasses, tahini and drained onion, labneh (or use drained yogurt) and tahini to the meat. Adjust the seasoning according to your personal preferences. Fry the pine nuts in the butter and add to the meat mixture. Cover the meat mixture and put it in the refrigerator until the dough is ready. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  4. Make the sfeehas: Unroll the dough and perforate it to remove all the air pockets; roll into a large circle about 1/8 inch (more or less) thick. Cut the rounds with a cookie cutter and on each turn place a generous amount of garnish (about 2 tablespoons). Pinch the two opposite ends of the circle, then the other two opposite ends. Take the back of a spoon and press the filling to lock it in the pocket. Line up the pies on a baking sheet. Heat the oven to 500F and bake for about 10 minutes until the pies are golden and the meat is cooked. Serve hot or at room temperature with yogurt salad if desired.