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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Savory Puff Pastry Pies Stuffed with Meat and Rice (Ouzi)

Some requests have come in for more Middle Eastern dishes.  I LOVE to hear from the readers, thank you for your comments!  Please always feel free to post on the blog or email me directly at!

Here's another classic Syrian dish, called "ouzi" in Arabic. It is carbohydrate heaven! Puff pastry stuffed with rice! This is paired with a cucumber yogurt sauce and the combination is dynamic! It is very common to eat the rice without filling it in a puff pastry, so feel free to do so. A great idea is to make extra of the rice and eat it as a rice meal one night and then fill into pies for another evening. Wrapped in puff pastry, these freeze very well and are ready to bake right from the freezer.

I always serve this with a cucumber yogurt sauce (laban bil khyar) and a simple salad.

To prepare vegetarian style leave out the meat and include the carrots.

These make 20 mini pies

-1 pound ground beef (80% lean)
-1 tablespoon allspice
-salt to taste
-2 cups calrose rice, soaked in water for 2 hours
-2 1/4 cups boiling water
-1 lb frozen peas
-optional: 1 cup finely diced carrots (the size of the peas)
-10 puff pastry squares

-In a large pot, brown ground beef and carrots with allspice and salt. Rinse soaked rice and add to ground beef. If using fresh carrots, add them now. Cook for two minutes while stirring frequently. Add 2 1/2 cups boiling water and peas. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover rice and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Do not uncover rice during the 18 minutes of cooking time. After the time is up, turn off heat, uncover, stir rice, replace lid and let set for another 15 minutes. Uncover and let the rice cool.
-Preheat oven to 375. Using a rolling pin, extend the dough by 1/4 inch on each side. Cut each puff pastry square in half. Take an individual ramekin and press dough into the cup, letting the pastry extend out. Fill with 1/4-1/2 cup of rice and fold over the edges of the crust, pressing lightly to seal. Flip over onto a baking sheet. Repeat this process until the rice and dough are finished.
-Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and flaky.
-Serve with  yogurt

Ouzi isn't complete without a side of cucumber yogurt sauce :)

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  1. salam, 2 questions, what is calrose rice? Can any rice do?
    And what is a ramekin? Thanks!

  2. I'm going to try this one. It is sooo good. Had it in Syria last summer. Thanks Raghad. Keep the Syrian dishes coming!:)

  3. Salam Sabiha!

    Calrose rice is also known (for Arabs) as Egyptian rice. It is a short and thick grain of rice. You can use other types (such as Basmati or Jasmine), but you will have to adjust the water and cooking time.

  4. Also, a ramekin is a small bowl (usually oven proof, but not important in this case because you will only use it to shape the puff pastry, not to cook it.)

    If you have a small bowl about the size of your fingers cupped into the palm of your hand, you should be fine!

    Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions :)

  5. i'm making this as i type ;) i always wanted to learn and make ouzi. thanks raghood