Main Attraction, Pork

Middle Eastern Meat Pies with Cucumber Herb Salad

I love having local ground 13415545_1288016387893122_6039386156040673012_opork on hand. It can be more economical and versatile than ground beef and has a sweeter, milder flavour. A great source for pork in the Annapolis Valley is a farmstand like DK Fairn’s. We also find ourselves buying it in large quantities from a local source like Oulton’s or Meadowbrook Meat Market and freezing it in one pound bags to make everything from Vietnamese Pork Burgers to Spanish meatballs and spaghetti sauce.
These flavourful meat pies are adapted from a lamb burger recipe in the pages of Bon Appétit. I loved the unusual (to me) method of cooking the meat inside the pita. I adapted it for pork, which likes to be seasoned a little more aggressively since it doesn’t have the intense flavour of lamb. The fresh salad featuring summer (or hothouse) cucumbers is a great pairing but you could also serve it with prepared tzatziki. Grind the coriander and cumin yourself for the most delicious result!

Middle Eastern Meat Pies
This is a wonderful recipe to show off your homegrown summer herbs! Watch the pitas carefully during grilling. Keep the heat low and welcome a few delicious charred spots.

1 pound Ground Pork
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped Parsley
1 tablespoon ground Coriander
¾ teaspoon ground Cumin
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Salt
teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
¼ cup Olive Oil, plus more for grilling
4 Lebanese pitas, split or 8 Greek pitas

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except the extra olive oil and pita. If using regular pita, spread a quarter of the mixture evenly over 1 split round, then top with the second round. If using Greek pita, spread a quarter of the mixture over 1 pita, then top with another, pressing firmly. Brush both sides with olive oil and panfry or grill over low heat until the pork mixture is cooked through. Let the meat pies rest while you make the salad, then cut them in halves or quarters.

For the Cucumber Herb Salad:
1 English Cucumber, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped herbs: Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, Chives, any one or a combination
3/4 cup Greek Yogurt or Labneh (in the Valley you can find it at Holmestead Cheese)

Place the cucumber in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and chopped herbs. Fold in the yogurt and taste-depending on how large your cucumber was, you may need a little more salt. Serve with the meat pies.