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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2002

Meat or Spinach Pies

For the dough (Basic Arabic Bread Dough):

2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F.)

1 package dry yeast

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons salt

6 to 61/2 cups flour

To make the dough: Place warm water in large warm mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast in water, stir until dissolved. Add oil and salt. Add flour and mix. Knead until dough is smooth. Add additional flour if needed.

Cover dough well and let rise in a warm place for at least an hour.

Punch dough down gently. Pinch off pieces of dough (about the size of a small onion), form into about 36 smooth balls. Cover the balls and let rest for 20 minutes.

For meat filling:

2 1/2 pounds lamb, coarsely ground

2 cups chopped onion

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

To make meat filling: Combine all ingredients and mix well. Using dough from recipe above, roll out each dough ball into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Place a heaping tablespoon of meat mixture on top of each circle and close into the shape of a triangle, pinching outside edges together first. Leave a small opening in center in order for meat to cook well. Place closely together on a baking pan that has been well greased with oil or melted rendered butter. Use a pastry brush to lightly pat oil or melted rendered butter on tops of triangles.

Bake at 375 degrees in preheated oven on lower shelf until bottoms are brown, then place under broiler to brown tops lightly.

Yield: 3 dozen.

For spinach filling:

2 10-ounce bags spinach

1/2 teaspoon salt

11/4 cups chopped onions

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

To make spinach filling: Wash spinach thoroughly and cut into medium-sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, then squeeze out excess moisture between palms of hands. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Using dough recipe above, roll out each dough ball into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Place a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture onto each round and fold over edges to close into triangular shape. Work quickly, and avoid getting liquid on edges. Pinch dough to close securely. Place on a baking pan well greased with oil or melted rendered butter. Use a pastry brush to lightly pat oil or rendered melted butter on tops of triangle.

Bake at 375 degrees in a preheated oven on lower shelf until bottoms are brown. Place under broiler to lightly brown tops. Serve hot or cold.

Yield: 3 dozen

Source: Syrian-Lebanese Cookbook, Ladies' Society of St. Elias Orthodox Christian Church



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