Mini pita pockets with Moroccan lamb & tzatziki


posted by on Out & About, Recipes


pita trio


Since the picnic season is upon us, I thought it would be nice to include ideas suitable for pack-up-and-go-ness.  Wait.  No, scratch that.  It’s not nice.  Mrs Jones down the road is nice. It’s a grand idea in fact!  These babies are also fab at a braai as a curtain raiser to fend off the hunger pangs before the main event.

If you’re not mad about lamb, what’s wrong with you? you can substitute it with beef – a well matured rump or rib eye will do the job.  If you don’t have a griddle pan, shame on you.  That’s completely unforgivable.  Only kidding, darlings!  Heat the grill element in your oven and set up a rack as close to the hot stuff as possible.  Alternatively, toast the pita on your braai grid.

What you’ll need… (serves 4)

450g lamb leg or rump, cubed into bite-sized pieces

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tbsp paprika (if you have smoked paprika, this would also be nice grand, just halve the quantity as it’s very potent)

1 tsp coarse black pepper

Fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

1-2 tbsp red pepper pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto (you’re looking for something punchy, kittens)

A 200 g tub of tzatziki (I always go for low fat tzatziki, because it still has that rich mouthfeel and doesn’t get as cosy with my hips)

8-10 mini pita

And then…

Heat a non-stick (griddle) pan to our favourite setting: blady hot.  In a bowl, coat the lamb in the salt, cumin, paprika, pepper & mint.  No need for oil to fry your lamb, as the rump and leg cuts contain enough fat to get the meat frying & keep it moist.  Throw in the marinated bits of lamb, ensuring the pan is not overcrowded.  Leave the meat alone for at least 3 minutes.  If you are scared the meat will stick, you’re right.  It will.  But it will eventually UN-stick itself in time.  You just need to exercise some patience, darlings.  All good things… blah blah fish paste.  Turn the meat once it’s stopped sticking and brown the other side.  Remove once this is done & transfer to a bowl.  Repeat with the remaining lamb bits.  Once the meat is cooked, toss this in the red pepper or sun-dried tomato pesto & set aside while you toast the pita.

If you have a griddle pan, clean it and re-heat it to create those lovely charred lines we all love in food styling so much.  Alternatively, heat your grill & toast each pocket, turning regularly so they don’t burn.  When the pita are ready, they will puff up.  Carefully slice them open (not all the way, just half way) & be aware that steam will most likely escape from the pocket.

Spoon some tzatziki & some lamb into each pocket and you’re done!  See how easy that was?  Happy picnicking!

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