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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Turn pita rounds into a ‘crust’ for this easy, fun turkey pie

Turkey Pita PieSheryl Julian

Serves 4

You can do anything with pita rounds, including roll them with fillings as wraps, use them as the bread for very crisp grilled cheese sandwiches, or cut them up to toast into crackers. Since it's so versatile, I decided to see if pita could become the top and bottom crust in a pie and hold my favorite turkey meatloaf as filling. It worked beautifully. Use regular or whole-wheat small pita and cut them in half. Then separate the pieces and use these half-moon shapes to line a baking dish. Really, it doesn't matter if the dish is round or oval or rectangular. Sprinkle the bread with a little water so it becomes pliable and sticks to the sides of the oiled dish. Then add the ground turkey filling, which is sauteed with onion and spices, and some chopped tomatoes, and mixed with a couple of eggs to bind it. Top the turkey with overlapping pieces of pita, brush them generously with olive oil, and bake the dish until the top browns and the filling is bubbling at the edges. The bottom pita is soaked with meat juices and the top is crisp. It is an easy and fun dish to assemble and surprisingly light.

Olive oil (for the dish and top)
3small (8-inch) regular or whole-wheat pita rounds
2tablespoons olive oil
1large onion, coarsely chopped
1pound dark-meat ground turkey
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground coriander
1cup canned fire-roasted or regular diced tomatoes with their liquid
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
Kosher salt (for sprinkling)
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)

1. Have on hand an 8- or 9-inch round, square, or oval baking dish. Lightly oil the bottom and sides.

2. Cut the pita in half to make 6 half moon shapes. Separate the pieces to make thin rounds from each one; you now have 12 thin half moon shapes. Line the dish with the pieces, overlapping the rounded sides slightly as you press them against the edge of the dish so they come up the sides. With a hand dipped into cold water, sprinkle enough water on each piece to make them pliable enough to sit in place. You will have a gap in the center of the dish. Fill it with a piece of pita so the entire bottom is covered like a pie crust. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it starts to soften.

4. Add the turkey to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook the turkey, breaking it up with the back of a kitchen spoon, for 5 minutes, or until it looks cooked (it will cook more later).

5. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the turkey mixture to a bowl; set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cool.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the dish.

7. Stir the parsley and eggs into the turkey mixture. Spoon the mixture onto the pita in the dish. Cover with the remaining pieces of pita, overlapping them slightly, setting them curved sides facing the edges, if possible, so they completely cover the filling. You may not need all the pieces. Brush the top generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

8. Set the dish on the baking sheet. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling at the edges (a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the filling should register 165 degrees). Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and cut into wedges.

Sheryl Julian

Serves 4

You can do anything with pita rounds, including roll them with fillings as wraps, use them as the bread for very crisp grilled cheese sandwiches, or cut them up to toast into crackers. Since it's so versatile, I decided to see if pita could become the top and bottom crust in a pie and hold my favorite turkey meatloaf as filling. It worked beautifully. Use regular or whole-wheat small pita and cut them in half. Then separate the pieces and use these half-moon shapes to line a baking dish. Really, it doesn't matter if the dish is round or oval or rectangular. Sprinkle the bread with a little water so it becomes pliable and sticks to the sides of the oiled dish. Then add the ground turkey filling, which is sauteed with onion and spices, and some chopped tomatoes, and mixed with a couple of eggs to bind it. Top the turkey with overlapping pieces of pita, brush them generously with olive oil, and bake the dish until the top browns and the filling is bubbling at the edges. The bottom pita is soaked with meat juices and the top is crisp. It is an easy and fun dish to assemble and surprisingly light.

Olive oil (for the dish and top)
3small (8-inch) regular or whole-wheat pita rounds
2tablespoons olive oil
1large onion, coarsely chopped
1pound dark-meat ground turkey
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground coriander
1cup canned fire-roasted or regular diced tomatoes with their liquid
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
Kosher salt (for sprinkling)
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)

1. Have on hand an 8- or 9-inch round, square, or oval baking dish. Lightly oil the bottom and sides.

2. Cut the pita in half to make 6 half moon shapes. Separate the pieces to make thin rounds from each one; you now have 12 thin half moon shapes. Line the dish with the pieces, overlapping the rounded sides slightly as you press them against the edge of the dish so they come up the sides. With a hand dipped into cold water, sprinkle enough water on each piece to make them pliable enough to sit in place. You will have a gap in the center of the dish. Fill it with a piece of pita so the entire bottom is covered like a pie crust. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it starts to soften.

4. Add the turkey to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook the turkey, breaking it up with the back of a kitchen spoon, for 5 minutes, or until it looks cooked (it will cook more later).

5. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the turkey mixture to a bowl; set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cool.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the dish.

7. Stir the parsley and eggs into the turkey mixture. Spoon the mixture onto the pita in the dish. Cover with the remaining pieces of pita, overlapping them slightly, setting them curved sides facing the edges, if possible, so they completely cover the filling. You may not need all the pieces. Brush the top generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

8. Set the dish on the baking sheet. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling at the edges (a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the filling should register 165 degrees). Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and cut into wedges.Sheryl Julian


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.