Lamb Arayes

Recently arayes has become one of the most popular dishes in Israel. From restaurants to street food to home cooking. Arayes is the perfect mix of richly flavored lamb which is common throughout the Levant, plus fresh herbs and onions, all tucked in crispy pita bread that absorbs the juices.

Recipe by Jonathan Borowitz and Alon Hadar

Makes 10

Ingredients & Instructions

1 pound of ground lamb (you can also use ground beef or combine lamb and beef. We recommend 30% fat content)
3 onions
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper or Pierre Poivre N7 
1/2 tsp baharat
Olive oil
5 small pita breads

Quarter the onions and add them and the parsley in a food processor and process until finely chopped – alternatively you can finely chop the parsley by hand and shred the onions with a grater. If your onions are very wet strain the juice off. Mix the chopped vegetables well with the lamb, salt, and spices and let the mixture rest for an hour in the fridge

Preheat your oven to 450°F and halve the pita breads.

Shape the meatballs (about 3 ounces each) and gently open each pita bread and insert one meatball. Spread the meat with your fingers so that it is filled evenly, then press the pita with your hand on a board so that the pita is flat. This will ensure that the meat will be cooked evenly.

Optionally: If you have a grill or cast iron skillet you can also char the exposed side of the arayes (stand then up with the open side facing down on the grill or skillet). For even more browning you can cut the pita in half after stuffing and brown all of the cut edges.

Now brush the pitas with olive oil on both sides. Put the pitas on a wire rack and cook in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the meat inside is cooked to medium well.

Remove to a rack lined with paper towels to cool for a couple minutes.

Serve with a tahini and tomato spicy salad:

4 tomatoes
1 onion
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 Serrano chili
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped preserved lemon

Chop the tomatoes, chili and the onion and mix with all ingredients except the preserved lemon.

Spread 3 Tbsp of tahini sauce on the bottom of a serving plate. Place the salad on top and garnish with the preserved lemon.

Recommended: dip the arayes in the salad and eat them together!