Boutros Bou Maroun leads his goats out to graze outside of his village of Saghbine in Lebanon. Just look at those gorgeous coats!
Just like I do, this fellow walks his goats every day. Goat raising and cheese making in Lebanon is a multi-million dollar industry, with several regions having their own distinct goat breeds and their own local cheese varieties. This breed is known for their bulldog faces, which I think are hideous but are highly prized by the locals. What I love are the ears!
Bernadette from the ProjectNoah says “The goats are released in the early morning and allowed to roam the neighborhood/village streets until late afternoon when they return – sometimes called, sometimes rounded up, but often on their own – to their owner’s gate. Many Bedouin take their goat herds to the mountains in the spring where they can graze on fresh green herbs. Or they collect the fresh herbs and deliver it to the goats. Otherwise, the goats eat scraps – and trash. As our town, and the region in general, continues to develop, their more natural habitat is lost”.
Learn more about local Lebanese cheeses and how you can take a walk with this goatherd at…
(Recipe Adapted from “Analida’s Ethnic Spoon”: photo from Sawsan at “Chef in Disquise”)
Lebanese cheese fatayers are similar to the Turkish pogacas and Eastern European Burek. They can be filled with any number of wonderful filling, from spicy lamb to spinach and walnuts (a Syrian version).
For this recipe, I use my own farmstead goat feta cheese in oil and dill and my own Bulgarian style goat yogurt.
Calories 220 kcal
- 16 oz pizza dough
- 1 cup Feta Cheese: crumbled
- 5 oz yogurt plain
- 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped fine
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
- Preheat your oven to 375’F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl combine the feta, yogurt, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, and nutmeg. Mash well to break up any chunks of feta. The desired consistency is a very thick, lumpy paste.
- On a floured surface roll out the defrosted pizza dough until it is elastic and about 1/3 inch thick at the most. Then roll the whole thing into a log and cut into ten pieces. Allow the dough to rest covered for 30 minutes. Then cut the dough into 10 equal strips.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of filling down the center of the dough.
- Fold over the top left of the dough over the filling and press down. Fold over the opposite side over the folded sided and pinch. Pinch the ends up and over just a bit. The result should look like a cheese filled canoe.
- Brush with egg wash and place all fatayers on a parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350’F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley to finish.
Note: Nigella seeds can be purchased online for about $5.00 for a 3.5 ounce package. Some purveyors of nigella seeds call them black caraway. There is a different product with a distinctively different flavor that also goes by the name black caraway, so be sure that you are purchasing Nigella sativa for this recipe.
Additional recipes for fatayers can also be found at Analida’s Ethnic Spoon
and at Chef in Disguise at…