Speedy baked Meat & Beets Sambousek
Updated: Jun 19
These savory and crunchy pies are super delicious and versatile. You will often find them part of the appetizers or mezze table at homes all over the Middle East. My family often made them around the holidays or for family gatherings. The filling is so versatile. You can make a vegetarian filling that my khalto (my moms sister) Naheel (whos an incredible cook) used to make them using peas, carrots, onions and potatoes. You can also make a cheese filling combining feta, halloumi and fresh oregano. Explore and find your favorite filling. I found that using puff pastry or empanada wrappers is super fast and delicious and this way I can make them anytime as my kids love to pack them for lunch and for an after school snack.
For the meat filling
(recipe makes 12 pastries)
2 tbls olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pound minced meat (I used chicken) traditionally it’s made with lamb or lean beef such as Sirloin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 roasted beets (small dice)
3 tbls toasted pine nuts
1 box puff pastry or you can also use Empanada wrappers for baking. They are often found in the frozen section at your store.
Tahini and Yogurt Dip
1 cup whole milk yogurt
3 tbls of tahini
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic finely minced
few tbls of water if you need to thin the mixture adding one tablespoon at a time.
For the meat filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the meat and brown while stirring. Add the spices, salt and pepper to taste, and pine nuts. Taste to adjust the seasonings. Add the beets and cook for 5 more minutes. Cool the meat mixture completely before using as a filling for the sambousek.
Preheat the oven to 350. Flatten the puff pastry with a rolling pin.
Using a round cookie cutter (2 inch) or a glass cup to cut out your circles. You can adjust the size to your liking. Mini bitesize Sambouseks are perfect for appetizers or as part of a mezze menu. Place a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center of your dough. Fold over and press the edges to make a crescent. Pick up the filled crescent, go back to the edge and fold over and twist to crimp the edges and give it a finished look. cut a tiny slit on top to let the air escape yielding in a crispy bite. At this point, you can freeze the filled sambousek for later use. Freeze them individually then wrap in a plastic wrap and leave in the freezer. Once you want to cook them don’t thaw bake them straight from frozen.
Line a baking pan With parchment paper and lay your pastries on top. Bake until the crust puffs up and crispy about 20-30 minutes. Remember the filling is already cooked we are just cooking the dough at this point and warming the filling.
Serve immediately. If you are making these for a party, you can assemble them in advance but bake right before you serve them.
I like to serve mine with a tahini yogurt dip.