Barbecued Caramelised Onion and Feta Cheese Pitta Breads
Portion/Yield:Makes 6 stuffed pitta breads
With all this wonderful summer weather we have been enjoying, our barbecue is permanently on standby and ready to use. We grab every possible opportunity we can to light it and get cooking and we really are making the most of it! We love it!
This pitta bread dough recipe is fantastic. I like the feel of the dough and it works perfectly every time (I use it a lot). For this particular recipe, I thought it would be great to stuff the raw dough pockets with a filling before cooking them.
As I usually cook my pitta breads using a griddle pan, the barbecue idea is not alien at all. The trick with this is to make sure that the barbecue is not too hot. Our barbecue has a lid, meaning I can close all the vents and the lid, which, in effect, turns the barbecue into an outdoor oven. The pitta breads take about 8–10 minutes to cook and if the temperature is controlled and you turn the pitta breads a couple of times during the cooking process, they cook perfectly all the way through with just the right amount of caramelisation on the outside.
This recipe makes a delicious starter or something tasty to nibble on while you are slow cooking a joint of meat on the barbecue.
For the filling, I have kept it simple today by using caramelised onions, feta cheese and oregano, but if you have some lovely curried/seasoned cooked minced lamb (drained of fat and as dry as possible), this would also be fantastic to add as a filling, along with the caramelised onions.
Ingredients & Method
For the pitta bread dough
- 15g fresh yeast or 7g dried active yeast (don’t use fast-action dried yeast)
- 200ml tepid water
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the filling
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 onions, very thinly sliced (a mandoline is ideal for this)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 15g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, plus extra for garnishing
- 250g feta cheese
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
To make the pitta bread dough, mix the yeast with the tepid water, then cover with cling film and leave to stand for about 10 minutes or until a light frothy foam forms on the surface.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, yogurt, oil and salt together, then make a well in the centre and gradually add the yeast mixture, mixing well until the mixture comes together to form a lovely silky smooth soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes or until silky smooth, soft and elastic, then knead it into a smooth ball.
Lightly grease a deep bowl and place the dough ball in the bowl, then cover with a clean dry tea towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. The rising time will depend on the room temperature, but it can take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour. In the winter, the dough usually takes twice as long to rise.
Meanwhile, preheat the barbecue to medium-hot (if you have a thermometer attached to your barbecue as I have, then preheat it to about 200°C).
While the dough is rising, prepare the caramelised onions for the filling. Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot, then add the onions, garlic and salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and starting to take on some colour, then remove the lid, stir in the butter and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. Remove from the heat, stir in the oregano, then spread the onion mixture out on a plate or tray to cool it quickly and set aside (there is no need to refrigerate it).
Lightly grease 2 large baking trays with oil. Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, knock it back, then divide the dough into 12 even portions, shaping each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough to make an oval shape, about 2–3mm thick.
Divide the onion mixture between 6 of the ovals, then crumble the feta cheese over the top. Brush the edges of the remaining 6 ovals of dough with water, then turn each one over and place it (dampened edges down) on top of the filling, pairing each one up with a filling-topped oval to make 6 stuffed pitta breads. Press the edges of the dough together for each pitta bread, sealing the filling inside.
Carefully transfer the stuffed pitta breads to the prepared baking trays, lightly cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to rise again (prove) in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until doubled in size.
The barbecue should be ready by this stage. Carefully place the pitta breads over a medium-hot barbecue (you may need to cook them in a couple of batches, depending on the size of your barbecue – I can only cook 3 at a time on ours), cover the barbecue with its lid and cook the pitta breads for about 8–10 minutes or until golden brown all over with darker grill marks and cooked all the way through, turning them a couple of times (the cooked pittas will sound hollow when tapped). Remove to a wire rack and leave them to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of oregano and enjoy as a starter with a hummus dip of your choice.
To cook the pitta breads using a griddle pan, heat the griddle pan over a high heat until hot, then cook the stuffed pitta breads for about 5–6 minutes on each side, turning regularly, until golden brown all over with darker griddle marks and cooked all the way through.