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Lebanese Beef Fatayer | A Middle Eastern meat pie

An easy version of a traditional Middle Eastern meat pie made with grass-fed beef, onions and a blend of common spices. Fatayer is an easy gateway recipe to Middle Eastern food.

A triangle shaped meat pie.

“First we eat, then we do everything else.” – M.F.K. Fisher

Why I Love Fatayer

Meat pies go way back in history, predating the Roman Empire. This popular food spans six continents and hundreds of cultures. Other than Louisiana’s Natchitoches meat pie however, the U.S. doesn’t really have a meat pie culture. The pot pie is the closest meat pie variation and I’m not sure that counts, does it?

Today we are diving in to Middle Eastern food with the fatayer, a Lebanese meat pie. The fatayer, like most regional food has familial and regional differences but they all look and taste similar. The one I made has common ingredients you can find in the average American grocery store.

What is in a Beef Fatayer?

The fatayer consists of a filling wrapped in dough and baked in the oven. The most common are meat fillings with lamb or beef known as Sfeeha or a spinach filling called Sabanekh. You can make cheese fatayer also. They make for a nice entree or appetizer. Serve during mezze, a Middle Eastern tapas style situation.

The spices in this pie actually come from a spice blend called Baharat but I have broken down the blend for you so that you don’t have to make a big batch of this blend in order to make this recipe. That is why there seems to be a long list of ingredients but you probably already have all of these spices in your pantry.

Fatayer keeps well in the fridge or you can plop them in a freezer bag and freeze them up to a month. Just thaw them when ready to use and either re-heat in a low heat oven or microwave them on high for thirty seconds or so.

How to Make Beef Fatayer step-by-step

A pan with cooked ground beef with spices.
Cook the beef in the garlic, onions and spices.
A bowl of cooked beef.
Set aside the filling while you prepare the pre-made dough.
Pizza dough with circles imprinted.
If using pre-made pizza dough like I did, thaw and roll out dough until it is 1/8th of an inch thick or so. Cut out circles using a biscuit cutter or a glass.
A fatayer ready to wrap
Place your filling in the middle.
A dumpling folded into a triangle.
Fold the sides in order to make a pyramid, baste with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

I usually feel a little trepidation when trying to cook a new cuisine. It’s really difficult to know if I am ‘doing it right’ if I have never tasted or tried a cuisine before. I find Middle Eastern food less intimidating than most. It seems pretty straight forward without many special techniques you need to know before succeeding at a dish or many specialized ingredients. So far any spices I might need I have been able to order online such as sumac. What is your favorite way for obtaining specialized ingredients?

This fatayer recipe is very approachable. When I first heard you could use pre-made pizza or biscuit dough with fatayer I knew this is the recipe to try. I don’t always make short cuts like this and I do know how to make dough but when trying a new cuisine, somehow short cuts make the recipe seem less intimidating.

If you do make a dough from scratch, try it in the food processor. It’s super easy. Just mix your wet ingredients in a small bowl after proofing the yeast and put the dry ingredients in the processor. Pulse a few times to mix then add the wet ingredients in a steady stream while processing. If it’s too sticky add flour until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side. Easy.

More meat pies from around the world.

More Middle Eastern Recipes.

I enjoy finding new cuisines through Wikipedia and learn about them on YouTube. Do you ever do this? Just look up ‘List of soups’ and click on the Wikipedia article. You could go down quite a rabbit hole doing this. This is how I was introduced to Middle Eastern cuisine. What are your favorite cooking YouTube channels? Leave a comment below.

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A triangle shaped meat pie.

Lebanese Beef Fatayer | A Middle Eastern meat pie

Yield: 14 meat pies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

An easy version of a traditional Middle Eastern meat pie made with grass-fed beef, onions and a blend of common spices. Fatayer is an easy gateway recipe to Middle Eastern food.

Ingredients

 

  • 1 Tbs cooking oil
  • 1 lb of ground beef or lamb 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup of catsup
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne for heat (optional)
  • 2 rolls of pre-made pizza dough from the refrigerated section
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs water

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and cook onions for one minute.
  3. Add meat and salt and break up into small pieces.  Continue to cook over medium heat uncovered until cooked through.
  4. Add garlic and spices, stir and cook for one more minute.  Add catsup and stir well.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Remove pizza dough from packaging and roll out thinly on a floured surface.  Use a small 6 inch bowl to make a template into the dough.  Cut circles out with a sharp knife.  Dust well with flour and stack in a pile for easier assembly.
  6. In a small bowl add egg and water and whisk with a fork until combined, set aside.
  7. In each circle add 2-3 Tbs of filling.  Brush the edge of the dough with the egg wash and start the fold.  Fold two sides about 1/3 of the way, pinching the sides closed as you go.  Then take the middle of the remaining side and bring toward the pinched edge making two new seams.  Pinch the two new seams closed.
  8. Place all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray.
  9. Brush all over with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (white or black).
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn the baking sheet around half way through cooking.
  11. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Two of these make a great entree or serve them as single appetizers.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 7 Serving Size: 2 meat pies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 583mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Sharon Rossy

Friday 26th of March 2021

As a Lebanese American, I can tell you that Ketchup is not used but I get why you have it in the recipe. Usually Pomegrante molasses is used. My recipe uses beef, onions, tomatoes, parsley, yogurt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and sumac, either allspice or seven spices, salt and pepper. Sumac and Pomegrante molasses is found in Middle Eastern stores, although I have seen sumac in the spice section of most grocery stores. It gives a delicious tang. I cook the meat until it’s not pink, drain it and then add the rest.

Tina

Saturday 27th of March 2021

Hi Sharon, thank you for the lovely insight, I sure do appreciate the feedback. I am starting to garnish with Sumac and I'm glad it's easier to get now. I love to try new ingredients. Sometimes I have to buy ingredients on the internet but I try hard to find it locally. I bought pomegranate molasses once and only used it a few times before it expired since I don't cook with it very often. I've been reluctant to add to recipes as I don't want readers to waste it also. If you use it frequently it's worth getting. There is no real substitute that I know of to get that distinctive flavor. This version of beef Fatayer was really just me and my daughter having fun in the kitchen. Next time I make this, I will be sure to use your suggestions. Good luck in all of your culinary adventures!

Larry Kollar

Monday 1st of June 2020

Thanks for posting this! It occurred to me that I could shortcut things even farther by using 1/2c of whatever sauce I had on hand instead of ketchup and various herbs. Since I'm the one who likes spicy foods, I made half with harissa (I had a jar in the pantry that I picked up on closeout, then never got around to using it) and half with Heinz 57 and cheese (a sort of cheeseburger fatayer). The wife really liked the latter.

It seemed to me that putting the egg wash on the edges made the dough harder to stick together… but that might be my fault, because I bought pie crust instead of pizza crust. I make my own pizza dough pretty often, so I'll try that next time. (And I bet these would be awesome with a pastry crust!)

I'm definitely making this again… the rest of that jar of harissa insists. :D Thanks again!

Tina

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Hey Larry that's brilliant! I love the Heinz 57 and Harissa idea. You are right about how you can put whatever you want in it. Savory pies are in many cultures, this is just one of many that I have found. I'm going to try without egg wash next time. I was having that same trouble with the edges sticking together. I like your idea. Bon Appetit!

Chris Collins

Sunday 9th of June 2019

I've never heard of this recipe before, but it looks and sounds truly delicious! Can't wait to try!

Tina

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

It's super easy and a great way to dive into some middle eastern cooking. If you like it, try making the dough from scratch.

Shinta Simon

Sunday 9th of June 2019

I am definitely going to try this! Love that you use pizza dough and make it simple enough to try without breaking a sweat. I am a huge fan of Middle eastern flavours.

Tina

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Me too and I always love a good short cut when I don't feel like spending a few hours in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Amanda Wren-Grimwood

Sunday 9th of June 2019

These look like perfect bite sized pies for munching on. The flavours sound amazing and I'm thinking these would be great for summer picnics.

Tina

Sunday 9th of June 2019

Absolutely great for Summer picnics. I didn't even think of that. No utensils, thanks for the suggestion Amanda.

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