I’m always looking for new ways to prepare familiar ingredients. I went through a period about ten years ago of making variations on mezze or tapas whenever I had people round for food. Mostly because I didn’t have a dining table that sat more than two people, so more formal dining was off the cards.
Providing a selection of “serve yourself” small plates is always a good solution when you’re a bit tight on space. Everyone can take as much or as little as they want each time. Good for grazers and good for those with a more substantial appetite. It also means that if someone doesn’t really like something then they can avoid it without causing any offence.
One of the common features of almost any summertime spread would have been Lamb Kofte. Lightly spiced mince kebabs, served with flatbreads and houmous. You can make them as big or as small as you like and, as they’re made from minced meat, you can turn out huge quantities in next to no time. Perfect party food and absolutely delicious to boot.
When there’s just two of you, however, you don’t want mass catering quantities for your midweek meal. Yes, you can keep the leftovers, but our freezer is already overflowing with Tupperware containers so adding more is not an option. I recently had a real yearning for some kofte but knew if I was left unchecked we’d soon have two dozen of them sitting on a serving platter and only two mouths to feed. I needed to find an alternative.
Cue these rather delicious (and wonderfully crisp) Lamb Arayes. A bit of research tells me that these are a popular food across the Eastern Mediterranean and Levant. I can see why as they’re not unlike a hot toasted sandwich – something that will rarely get a thumbs down from me.
As you can see they’re made from Pitta Breads that have been stuffed with meat and then baked until golden brown and cooked through. The filling is primarily made from spiced lamb mince – much like my standard kofte recipe – with some onion, tomato and pomegranate molasses add to keep it moist as it cooks. I was a little concerned that left unchecked the bread would absorb all of the moisture leaving the filling a little dry. Plus a bit more flavour never goes amiss, eh?
These Lamb Arayes would make for great party food – especially at a summer barbecue. Served alongside some salad, a few dips and a generous dose of sunshine they’re a guaranteed hit.
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Sumac
- ½ tsp Ground Coriander
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Ground Allspice
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Garlic Granules
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Lemon zest only
- ½ Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Tomatoes deseeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley finely chopped
- 250 g Lamb Mince
- 2 large Pitta Breads
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°Put a baking sheet into the oven to heat up.
- Mix together the paprika, sumac, coriander, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, garlic granules, sea salt and lemon zest.
- Put the onion, tomato, pomegranate molasses, chopped parsley and lamb mince in bowl and mix together with your hands. Sprinkle over the spice mixture and rub through the mince, making sure it’s well distributed throughout the meat.
- Cut the pitta breads in half. Divide the meat in two and use it to fill each of the pitta breads. Press the lamb into the bottom half of each pitta, then add the top and press down again to seal it to the lamb.
- Brush the outside of the pitta breads with a little oil, then transfer to the heated baking sheet and put into the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the pitta breads over and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on the other side until golden and cooked through.
- Cut into halves or quarters before serving with the sides of your choice. Salad, houmous and tzatziki are all good flavours alongside the spiced lamb filling.
|Estimated Values Per Serving|
|of which Saturates||11||g|
|of which Sugars||11||g|
Note: Nutritional Information is shown per serving of the recipe shown above. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.
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