Beauty Shot of Molly Yeh's Meat-Stuffed Pitas with Yogurt Tahini Sauce as seen on Girl Meets Farm, Season 12.
Recipe courtesy of Molly Yeh

Arayes (Meat Stuffed Pitas with Yogurty Tahini Sauce)

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
This is Molly’s version of arayes, a Lebanese street food, that she describes as: the best, spiced, juiciest burger of your life, cooked inside of a fluffy pita, giving you crispy fried outer edges and tender juicy meat pocket innards. It’s a delicious texture and great flavor.

Ingredients

Yogurty Tahini Sauce:

Arayes:

Baharat Spice Blend:

Fluffy Pita Recipe:

Directions

  1. For the yogurty tahini sauce: Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, Baharat, garlic and black pepper in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in water, as needed, to make a creamy dip, about 1/4 cup. Stir in the cilantro and parsley and let the flavors blend at room temperature while you make the arayes.
  2. For the arayes: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and baharat spice and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Remove the seasoned onions and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and allow to cool. (Reserve the pan to cook the arayes.) Add the pine nuts, cilantro and parsley into the food processor bowl with the cooled onions and garlic. Pulse to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add the beef and salt. Mix with your hands or with a spatula until well combined.
  3. Divide the mixture into 16 equal-sized portions. Gently stuff each portion of meat into the pita halves, pressing them down so the mixture extends all the way to the edge. Season the exposed meat on each of the arayes with a pinch of salt. Preheat the cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Drizzle with enough neutral oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the arayes, cut-side down for 5 to 7 minutes to sear the meat and toast the pita. Lay them down on the side and cook for 3 to 4 minutes and then flip to cook on the other side for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Test the doneness with a meat thermometer (cook to 130 to 135 degrees F for medium rare; 135 to 140 degrees F for medium). Remove from the pan onto a wire rack or directly to a serving platter.
  4. Serve the arayes warm with the yogurty tahini sauce.
  5. The arayes are best served immediately, or shortly thereafter., But leftovers will keep, wrapped in foil, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a toaster oven. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, though you may need to stir in a little water to thin it out once chilled.

Baharat Spice Blend:

Yield: 1/4 cup
  1. For the baharat spice blend: Combine all the spices into an airtight jar or container. Set aside. (Extra baharat spice will keep in an airtight spice jar for a month or two. Use to season beef, lamb, poultry, beans or roasted vegetables.)

Fluffy Pita Recipe:

Yield: 8 servings
  1. For the pita, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar just to dissolve. Add the salt and oil, and then gradually add the flour. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 7 to 10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Do not add too much flour. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. Lightly coat a clean large bowl with oil or cooking spray and then place the dough in the bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  2. Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Mold each piece into a ball by stretching the top and tucking the edges under. Place the balls 1 inch apart on a piece of parchment paper, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Set an oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. With a rolling pin, roll out the balls of dough into 6-inch circles. Place them on the baking sheets and bake for about 5 minutes, or until they're puffy and just starting to brown.