Middle East Pitza

Over at My Kitchen, My World, the destination for April is Egypt. I, for one, am particularly excited to see what my fellow bloggers come up with this month to learn more about Egyptian cuisine while watching this country struggle to form its new democratic process. As for my submission, I don’t know how authentic it is, but I drew inspiration from a website of Egyptian cuisine suggestions and can vouch that it’s fun to eat and pretty tasty.

It’s simple enough: a whole wheat pita, toasted until crisp in the oven, then slathered with layers of smooth and spicy baba ganoush, ground chicken and pine nuts that have been spiked with cinnamon and cumin, and dollops of creamy, tangy tzatziki sauce. I made two of these and served them with some roasted broccoli for a light dinner with John while we watched Cleopatra in honor of Elizabeth Taylor, but I could see wedges of these being served as a fun appetizer at a party. Hope you like them too!

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • juice of a lemon, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 13 oz ground chicken
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion plus 1 tablespoon more, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon each finely chopped mint and parsley
  • 4 whole wheat pita

Start by making the baba ganoush. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly brush it with olive oil. Cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise then lay the halves cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skin has darkened and is a little puckered and the flesh side is slightly charred and soft. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes or until cool to touch. Scoop out eggplant flesh into a food processor fitted with steel blade. Add 1 large clove of garlic, grated with a rasp or finely chopped, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, tahini paste, juice of half the lemon, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and chili powder. Puree until mostly smooth with some small chunks of eggplant. Remove contents to a bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.

Reduce temperature of oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush pita with olive oil then bake on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven, and cover with a paper towel to keep warm.

While pita toast, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and pine nuts are lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Add the ground chicken meat, breaking it up and mixing in the onions and pine nuts. Add in the remaining teaspoon of cumin, along with the cinnamon, and oregano, and cook until chicken meat has browned and any liquid exuded is mostly evaporated, about 10-12 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While chicken cooks, mix together the yogurt, remaining tablespoon of onion, remaining clove of garlic that has been finely grated, juice of half a lemon, cucumber, mint, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.

To assemble, spread about 2 tablespoons of baba ganoush on crisped pita. Top with about 1/4-1/3 cup of ground chicken mixture. Dollop with tzatziki then cut into quarters before serving with additional tzatziki on the side.

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2 thoughts on “Middle East Pitza

  1. Corina says:

    I love all the flavours in this. And thanks for posting this and reminding me of this challenge. I visited Egypt last November so it’ll be great to try and recreate one of the dishes I had.

  2. Andrea at Nummy Kitchen says:

    What a creative dish, all of the flavors sound amazing together! I will have to whip up one of these as soon as I can get some eggplant 🙂 Wanted to let you know the MKMW Egypt round-up is finally up, sorry it is so late. Thank you for cooking along!

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