GRILLED LAMB-STUFFED PITA BREAD

Amazing recipe. Ground lamb and grill take your mind to hamburger or koftas, right? But by enclosing it all inside a pita bread, you’ll have something totally different and incredibly tasty.  I first saw the recipe on a TV show by America’s Test Kitchen, then noticed variations of it in several Middle Eastern cookbooks. If you enjoy the flavor of lamb, give it a try. It’s a real keeper.

GRILLED GROUND LAMB PITAS
(adapted from The Splendid Table)

2 pounds ground lamb
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 (8-inch) pita breads

Mince cilantro very well. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in oil, lemon zest and juice, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon. Add lamb and knead gently with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Using kitchen shears, cut around perimeter of each pita and separate into 2 halves. Place 4 thicker halves on counter with interiors facing up. Divide lamb mixture into 4 equal portions and place 1 portion in center of each pita half. Using spatula, gently spread lamb mixture into even layer, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Top each with thinner pita half. Press each sandwich firmly until lamb mixture spreads to ¼ inch from edge of pita. Transfer sandwiches to large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Place sandwiches on hot grill, cover, and cook until bottoms are evenly browned and edges are starting to crisp, 7 to 10 minutes, moving sandwiches as needed to ensure even cooking. Flip sandwiches, cover grill, and continue to cook until second sides are evenly browned and edges are crisp, 7 to 10 minutes longer. Transfer sandwiches to cutting board and cut each in half crosswise. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you look at the original recipe, you’ll see that I considerably reduced the amount of spices (and also the amount of olive oil, as lamb has enough fat). I tend to do that very often. In my opinion many recipes use too heavy a hand with spices, so that the flavor of the food itself becomes secondary. In this particular preparation, I prefer to let the taste of the meat shine a bit more. Do as you must to suit your taste. We loved these pitas, they were a complete meal with just the right amount of carbs to satisfy, and the lamb nicely seasoned.

You can adapt this method to ground turkey, ground beef, or even go vegetarian and make some type of garbanzo bean, mushroom concoction inside. That would be wonderful too, I am sure.

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14 thoughts on “GRILLED LAMB-STUFFED PITA BREAD

  1. Wow ! Yes, please !! I have ‘done’ lamb in pita all my life and oft at that, as lamb does happen to be my favourite meat, BUT. . . . . the pita fillings have not been of minced lamb usually (altho’ the latter is used in this kitchen at least weekly ) , and I have not used as much coriander nor paprika or any cinnamon . . . unlike you methinks I might appreciate quite a lot more spice and am over to the source of your recipe as soon as able . . . looks fantastic and will be tried soonest . . . .live and learn . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • yes, definitely look at the original recipe then, and add more spices to it… we thought it was particularly nice the way the fat of the meat permeates the pita and gives it a fantastic taste – truly amazing simple recipe

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  2. I love lamb and this aromatic recipe is enticing. I have hand made pitas at home for years. They are far better than store bought and have slightly thicker shells and are very easy to make. I suggest not splitting the pita but making a pocket in the whole pita. Lie the pita flat . Using a sharp knifed cut around one third of the short edge…like you want to split it) to make an opening. Gently open the interior with your fingers to form a pocket and fill with meat, distributing it evenly throughout by pressing it from the outside with your finger tips.. Brush a thin film off olive oil on both sides as you will be able to ‘flip’ the pockets easily without losing the contents. Grill as the recipe directs. I imagine this could be cooked on a grill pan in your kitchen too. P.S. I totally agree with ‘ditching’ the olive oil completely in this recipe. Lamb fat is delicious! Grind your own meat and take control of how much you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I made pitas before, and definitely this recipe would be much better with home made versions, because as you pointed out, they are thicker and will behave even better on the grill – I just did not have a chance to go through the extra trouble this time, but will definitely do so in the future.

      as to grinding my own meat, that is something I really don’t feel like getting involved – my Mom used to do it when I was very young, I remember the odd looking gadget attached to the corner of the sink – but that process to be honest, gives me the creeps 😉

      but I can see how it would make this type of recipe even better!

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      • Sally…I too remember those ‘metal hand grinders’. Gruesome! If you have a KitchenAid mixer they have meat grinder attachments, neat, easy, very sanitary. I truly believe I have better control over quality, fat content and cleanliness of every ground meat category I use. This may not be in everyone’s ‘wheelhouse’, because it takes time but you can also save a lot of money and end of with a better quality product.

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  3. Thanks for reminding me about this recipe, I made it from the original several years ago and they were delicious but very greasy. I also had trouble spreading the meat thinly enough and like your idea of splitting the pitas in half, that way you can get the meat almost to the edges. Our neighborhood used (sad sigh) to have a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant that made lamb pizza, the spices were much the same. The pizza was fantastic with a glass of pinot noir. Time to try this again.

    Liked by 1 person

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