After hasselback salami , arayes (Middle Eastern stuffed meat pitas) take the win for my most viral recipe of all time. When I made them and posted them on my Instagram stories, the local pita factories sold out of pita (true story)! Hundreds of photos of finicky eaters who couldn’t get enough poured into my DMs, and they became a household staple in homes around the world. I could think of no other way to honor this treasured dish than to make them three ways: the original version based on meatloaf that went viral, of course; a gluten-free “tacorayes”; and a Passover-friendly version inspired by the meat patties of my childhood. Please note, to reduce the risk of undercooked meat, I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure that it’s cooked through.
“Meatloaf” Arayes
Makes 16 arayes, serving 8 to 12
2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
2 extra-large egg yolks
⅓ cup ketchup
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 pitas, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1 Place a baking sheet into the oven, then preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the beef, egg yolks, ketchup, onion, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper with your hands. Fill each pita pocket with ⅓ cup or more of the beef mixture (depending on the size of your pita; it should be generously packed), flattening the filling so that the pita can stand upright with the opening facing down. Brush the outside of the pitas with olive oil on both sides.
3 Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stand the pitas on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, until the meat is browned and crisp. Flip the pita onto one side and bake for 5 more minutes, until it starts to brown. Flip the pita onto the other side and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until very crispy and toasted around the edges. Alternatively, you can grill the pita using the same method directly on grill grates or over medium-high heat on a stovetop grill pan.