Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Grilled Arayes with a Garlic Yogurt Dressing

While I was stationed overseas, I was lucky enough to befriend a family of Jordanian decent and they would invite me for dinner. One thing that they made were Arayes. These are a blend of meat, stuffed into a pita and then cooked until crisp in the oven. They would often make them for the youngsters as snacks. I fell in love with the simplicity, flavor and texture. As soon as I saw the Cluck 'n Moo Challenge, I was so certain that this blend would be perfect for this recipe. And I was right. Simply amazing taste and texture. These would be great for you to make as snacks, for a get together, or as a main dish at a BBQ. This blend of ground chicken and ground beef will absorb any flavors you want to throw at it.

Grilled Arayes
by Traci
Adapted from Aarti Sequeira's Lebanese Meat-Stuffed Pitas (Arayes)

1 clove roasted garlic, smashed into a paste
1 Roma tomato, deseeded and chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small jalapeno, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 split pita, cut in half and separated to form a pocket
Olive oil for brushing (both the grill and the pitas)

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except ground mix. Mix well. Add ground mix and combine until ingredients are distributed evenly. Separate into 8 even meatballs then flatten them. Lift the top layer of the first pita pocket and place the flattened ball into the pita, making sure you spread it all the way to the back. Press down to make sure it is evened all the way. Proceed to finish the other seven.

I did these on a gas grill, but they can be done on a charcoal one or in the oven on a cookie sheet. I got my grill up to about medium heat and brushed my grate with some olive oil. Brush oil on the side you will cook first and lay it on the grill grate. Brush other side with oil. At the 3-minute mark, flip and continue cooking. The pita will crisp up and I actually like the little burnt edges. After another couple of minutes it is up to you as to how crispy you want your pita (but make sure that the center of the meat reaches at least 165 degrees).

These are wonderful on their own, with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce. I made Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing (recipe follows) to go with them this time and it was very complimentary.

Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing
by Traci
Adapted from Eating Well's Garlic Yogurt Dressing

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon roasted garlic mashed
1 green onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl or a small Mason jar add all ingredients and mix well. It will need to sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. Serve aside the Arayas.

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