Recipe For Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha

Sfiha Savoury Mince Pies

Sfiha are traditional Sephardi pastries from Turkey. They ordinarily consist of lambs mince but lamb has become so expensive here. I really cannot understand why, as we live close to an area that farms lamb. This emphasizes more and more why I would like a farmers’ market close to where I live so that I could buy direct from the farms. Luckily for me, our local butcher has an endless supply of venison in season. I decided at the beginning of autumn to stock up on as much venison as possible. The meat is fairly cheap, low in cholesterol and a healthy sustainable source of protein. The venison I buy is free range, and hung properly before being cut up and sold to the consumer. For my savoury mince pies I bought a pack of Springbok. I kept the leg chops for later use, turned the off cuts into the most amazing casserole and used the meat for this recipe. I minced my own meat which to me is the best thing to do. I know exactly what I am getting in my mince, and I know that the meat is done to the consistency I need it for my recipes. In her post, Manal made her yafawi sfeeha (alternate spelling) using phyllo pastry which she rolled into snails. I had every intention of doing mine the same way, but the phyllo pastry I had was so dry and I could not separate the leaves, let alone bend the tube! I made a small batch with the phyllo and then made more using puff pastry, which from what I read, is more traditional. My puff pastry was also at the end of its shelf life and in small pieces. I rolled it into a sheet by layering the pieces first.

Savoury Mince Pies
Savoury Mince Pies

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Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha
These savoury mince pies can be made using meat of your choice.
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  • 15mls olive oil
  • 100g baby fennel, thinly sliced
  • 200g Swiss chard
  • 250g venison, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 40g watercress, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g ricotta
  • 5mls sumac
if using phyllo pastry
  • 5 sheets phyllo
  • Olive oil for brushing
if using puff pastry
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry cut to shape
  • Milk for brushing
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high temperature
  2. Add the fennel to the pan and sauté until soft
  3. Slice the stems off the chard and add to the pan
  4. Sauté until soft
  5. Add the mince and brown
  6. Season generously
  7. Chiffonade the chard leaves and add to the pan
  8. Sauté until they start to wilt
  9. Add the watercress and as soon as it has wilted remove from the heat
  10. Place the mixture into a colander and leave to drain while cooling
  11. Once cool, add the zest, ricotta and sumac
  12. Stir to mix and adjust the seasoning to taste
if using phyllo pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  2. Brush each sheet with the oil, placing one on top of the other
  3. Place the meat mixture along the length of the pastry
  4. Roll up tightly and shape into a spiral
  5. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes
  6. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving
if using puff pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  2. Place a layer of the pastry onto a baking sheet
  3. Place the meat mixture into the centre of the pastry - be quite generous with the filling
  4. Place the second layer of pastry on top and seal the edges using a bit of water to help 'glue' them together
  5. Cut a steam vent into your pastry top (or cut with a cookie cutter before using)
  6. Brush with milk
  7. Bake for 25 minutes
  8. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines:  The July Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal’s Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad. The “Yafawi Sfeeha” or also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.

What I blogged July 28:

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12 thoughts on “Recipe For Savoury Mince Pies | Sfiha

  1. Lamb is ridiculously expensive here too and I live in a farming area – a leg or shoulder is reasonable and what I tend to buy but cutlets are over $40 a kilo!!! This pie sounds killer, thanks!! 🙂 Jan x
    Jan (A gluttonous wife) sharing the blog ♥ Miso roasted cauliflowerMy Profile

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    1. Ouch Jan, that is ridiculous!

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  2. The price and availability lamb – even in the land of lamb it is expensive and even at the Farmers’ Market not always available! But these pies do look delicious – love the phyllo option.
    Rachel (Rachel’s Kitchen NZ) sharing the blog ♥ Salmon, Tomato & Spinach CurryMy Profile

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    1. Rachel, you have to go to the UK to buy NZ lamb cheaply 🙂

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  3. My grandmother used to always make mince pies, but here they are very similar to meat patties. This looks amazing.

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    1. Thanks Kia 🙂

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  4. Yum! These look so classy, yet incredibly easy to make and super delicious! Here in the South, we absolutely love venison! And we have plenty of it, so these will definitely be on the menu soon! 🙂 Thanks, Tandy! 😀

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    1. Hope you enjoy them!

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  5. Lamb is expensive in Australia too and like you we can’t really understand why. Great idea using venison too! 😀
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella sharing the blog ♥ Win the Cooking With Kylie Kwong Dinner Range With Woolworths!My Profile

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    1. It is ridiculous!

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  6. Sfiha is such a special treat! Your version looks absolutely scrumptious. I grew up eating venison because there were so many hunters around. The only butchers around are in the grocery stores and i do not think they would ever have venison due to its correlation with Bambi. Such a bummer because it tastes so wonderful! You have done an excellent job!
    cali @ sharing the blog ♥ Glass Noodle and Edamame Salad with Thai-Style Peanut DressingMy Profile

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    1. That is such a pity Cali 🙂

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