A SAVORY PHYLLO PIE

I was going to call it “Meat and Potato Phyllo Pie”. Side note: the expression “meat and potato guy” always makes me smile, as it took me a while to fully understand its meaning. When you are a foreigner, it’s not feasible to stop people all the time to ask for clarifications on every expression you don’t quite “get”. So you go with the flow. Of course now I know that it refers to someone who is not very adventurous in the gastronomic department. But this version adds a few tidbits that a true meat and potato being might object to, like tahini, eggplant, maybe even phyllo could be a no-no… Therefore, let’s go with Savory Phyllo Pie.

SAVORY PHYLLO PIE
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

8 inch-springform pan (or pan with removable bottom)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat if possible)
3/4 pound ground bison (or substitute extra turkey meat)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you like)

for the vegetable layer:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium eggplant
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil spray or a few tablespoons

for yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup full-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

to assemble pie:
8 sheets of phyllo dough
olive oil spray
sesame seeds (optional)

Prepare the meat layer. Heat the olive oil, sauté the celery and shallots with a little salt. When fragrant, add all dried spices, let them heat for a minute, then add the two kinds of meat, salt, and cook until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, close the pan and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Reserve, allowing it to cool to room temperature or place it in the fridge.

Prepare the vegetable layer. Peel the eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch rounds, do the same for the sweet potatoes. Brush or spray the surface with oil and bake in a single layer at 425F until it starts to get golden. The eggplant will work best if you use a grill, but it was too cold for that when I made it. Reserve the veggies.

Prepare the yogurt-tahini sauce and reserve. Assemble the pie: Spray the bottom and sides of the springform pan with olive oil. Grab one sheet of phyllo at a time, spray with olive oil and place inside the pan with the ends going over the sides and hanging. Use 5 more sheets overlapping them in a circle. Place the sweet potato slices at the bottom, then the eggplant. Cover with the meat, pressing it down and leveling the surface well. Drizzle the tahini sauce and spread it well on the surface. Grab two more sheets of phyllo, fold in half, spray with oil and cover the top of the pie. Now bring all the phyllo that is hanging outside and crump the edges to neatly close the pie. Spray additional olive oil over the top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 40 minutes at 400F. Let the pie sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I actually made phyllo pie two weeks in a row, first time following a recipe from Falastin. It was good, but a bit too heavy and the meat got slightly dry. So I made this version with similar Middle Eastern tones. We both loved it! It is a bit involved, but totally worth it. I usually make all the components and save them in the fridge. Then, it’s all a matter of heating the oven, assembling the pie and dinner is ready in one hour. You do need to wait for 15 minutes or it will be messy when you cut it.

I use the mixture of turkey and bison very often. It is great for chilis, and even burgers. Both are very lean types of meat, the bison gives a more complex flavor. We have excellent bison meat in Kansas, but if you cannot find it, just use turkey, or ground beef, or even lamb, although the end result with be considerably heavier.

All that was needed to call it dinner? A simple salad. We ate like royalty… I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, another good option for company, as you can do a lot in advance. Plus, it looks pretty awesome when you remove it from the springform pan.

ONE YEAR AGO: Nut-Free Lady Grey Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Mini-Heart Cakes for your Valentine

THREE YEARS AGO: Blue Moon Milk

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooked Chicken Meatballs

FIVE YEARS AGO: Zesty Flourless Chocolate Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGOSilky Gingered Zucchini Soup

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Sweet Fifteen!

NINE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough

TEN YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

TWELVE YEARS AGO: White Bread

TURKEY-BISON JALAPENO CHILI

This was made in a pressure cooker, but if you don’t own one, no problem. Follow my modifications for a stove-top version. I often make chili exclusively with ground turkey but this version with 50% bison won our seal of approval. Not that much additional fat, but definitely a more complex flavor.

TURKEY-BISON JALAPENO CHILI
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground bison meat
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or other red pepper of your choice)
1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
garnishes of your choice

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker. Sautee the shallot, bell pepper and jalapeños with a little salt and pepper. When fragrant, add the two kinds of meat and saute for a few minutes. Add all other ingredients, close the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure.

Reduce heat, cook for 25 minutes. Release the pressure quickly according to the method recommended for your pan. Simmer the chili gently for a few more minutes and serve. Adjust consistency with water or by reducing it further. Serve with toppings of your choice. If making in a regular pan, simmer gently for 1 hour, adding more liquid if needed during cooking.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As you may know, we cook with leftovers in mind, and chili is one of the perfect recipes to enjoy in subsequent days, it gets better and better. Bison meat is widely available where we live, but any ground beef will work, although the fat amount will be higher with most other cuts. We love the mixture of the two types of meat. If you have pickled jalapeños hanging around, they are a nice topping idea also. We used guacamole and yogurt seasoned with salt and lime juice.

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Bonbons with Mango-Ganache Filling

TWO YEARS AGO:  Giant Cookie Meets Mousse

THREE YEAR AGO: The Brazilian Battenberg

FOUR YEARS AGO: Salzburg Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: If I had One Hour

SIX YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Apricot-Raspberry Sorbet: A farewell to Summer

NINE YEARS AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon

TEN YEARS AGO: Pork Kebabs

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

TWELVE YEARS AGOGot Spinach? Have a salad!

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU EYE-OF-THE-ROUND

Make it play the tenderloin role! I am over the moon with this preparation, sous-vide turns a very cheap and often neglected cut of meat into Dinner Royalty. There are other methods to achieve the same outcome. America’s Test Kitchen uses a very low oven and careful monitoring of the temperature in the center of the meat using a probe thermometer that stays inside throughout the cooking time. I made their version before attempting this one. What I dislike about their recipe (sorry, ATK), is that you just don’t know how long it is going to take, so dinner plans get a bit iffy. With this method, no worries. Set the temperature, place the meat in the water-bath, and you can finish it in mere minutes on the stove top. Brilliant, just brilliant.

EYE OF THE ROUND SOUS-VIDE
(adapted from Anova Culinary)

3lbs eye of round beef roast
1/3 cup mustard
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 Tbsp black pepper
1.5 Tbsp kosher salt

Set a water bath to 131F.

Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Cover beef with yellow mustard massaging it well all over the surface.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat with 1Tbsp vegetable oil.
Once pan is hot, sear beef on all sides until golden brown. Remove from pan, place in a bag suitable for sous-vide cooking. You can seal using vacuum or use water displacement. Place in water bath, cook for 24 hours.

Remove meat from bag, and heat a cast iron pan on medium-high with 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, quickly sear beef on each side until golden brown (about 1 minute per side). Once done, place on a plate to rest for a few minutes.

Slice the beef into 1/2 inch slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: In the original recipe at Anova, they include additional steps for making a sauce. I was not interested in making it that particular evening, so I kept it super simple. But please check their site, it is a wonderful way to serve it.


We enjoyed it with air-fried small potatoes, and broccoli puree. Leftovers were my lunch for three days in a row, just briefly warmed over a non-stick pan with a touch of olive oil. If you enjoy roast beef served cold in sandwiches, just make sure to slice whatever is left very thinly, if you have an electric knife (I don’t) put it to use.

ONE YEAR AGO: Carrot Cake Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Soup Saturday: Say Goodbye to Winter

THREE YEARS AGO: Manchego and Poblano Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Smashing Pair

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

SIX YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

NINE YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

TEN YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte

 

MEMORIES of PASTEIS

Dad left us 15 years ago today. But he did not really leave. This is a post from 9 years ago, which I re-blog today.
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Bewitching Kitchen

When traveling to a country for the first time, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to their “street food.”   In Paris, for example, the tiny shops selling crepes (sometimes slathered with Nutella!) are a delight as one strolls along the avenues.   Many big cities are filled with  such delicacies, and in fact, one of my favorite cookbooks revolves around this topic.

On the streets of Brazil, you might stop to buy a “pastel,” and after sampling it, immediately return to the vendor for a couple more (plural = pasteis).    These fried savory pastries are sold at the entrance of street markets: every week on the same day a few blocks of a neighborhood street close to traffic, while farmers sell their produce from early morning until slightly past noon, with prices dropping as the hours pass.  You’ll smell the pasteis from a distance…

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HICKORY-SMOKED BEEF TENDERLOIN

This could very well go into the Incredibly Simple files, but since it requires an electric smoker, I guess it would not be quite appropriate. When we think about smoking stuff (not talking cigarettes of any kind here), the mind gravitates towards pork ribs, briskets, perhaps salmon. But Phil wondered if cuts such as a T-bone steak or a tenderloin could also work. There are some recipes out there, for the most part they call for rubs or marinades that in my opinion don’t do anything for the meat. So we browsed around discussion forums and found what we were looking for: meat lovers raving about their smoked ribeyes, tenderloins, T-bones. And what’s even better, they were prepared like a Brazilian would: salt, pepper, and love.

HICKORY-SMOKED BEEF TENDERLOIN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 beef tenderloin filets, 8 ounces each
(you can do the same for a 12 ounce T-bone steak)
salt
pepper
a few chunks of hickory smoking chips

Set your smoker to 175 F.

Season the meat with salt and pepper.  When the smoker reaches the proper temperature, place the steaks inside and smoke for 50 minutes.

Heat your grill or a cast iron pan to the holy-smokes-this-is-blazing-hot stage.

When the meat is done smoking, sear it on the grill or cast iron pan (if using cast iron coat it very slightly with olive oil). Just a couple of minutes per side will do.

Rest the meat for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy it. You definitely will.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We smoked one tenderloin filet and two T-bone steaks using exactly the same timing and temperature. The texture of the meat was quite similar to sous-vide, which pleasantly surprised us. Definitely the lower temperature does wonders for texture, and the smoked flavor turns it into something special. It is much more subtle than adding a sauce to your steak (which Brazilians find borderline heretic). Next time we will use either orange or apple wood to see how the flavor compares. Hickory is pretty assertive.

If you are a bit insecure about cooking the meat without checking the temperature, you can always insert a probe thermometer and take it to 135 F for medium-rare. The Man was in charge of the smoker, and he is pretty good at judging doneness by pressing the surface of the meat with his finger. It always turns out perfect for us.

After inhaling the whole T-bone steak (ok, he did leave the bone behind after chewing on it like Bogey QT would), Phil said it was one of the best he’s ever had. That man knows about steak, trust me, so that is a huge endorsement.  I could not finish my tenderloin, but in part it was because I always have that possibility of a perfect leftover lunch waving at me. But if it wasn’t for that, I would have matched my beloved’s performance. Except for the chewing of the bone. Or the corn on the cob. Because… braces (sigh).

We’ve had the smoker since December last year, and I can tell you we are very happy with the acquisition. I cannot imagine salmon prepared any other way, and it’s quite likely that T-bone steaks and maybe even beef tenderloin will be following the same route…

ONE YEAR AGO: Spaghetti Squash, Revisited

TWO YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken and Cabbage in Spicy Almond Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: Fifteen Years!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Light Brioche Burger Buns

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Blues

SIX  YEARS AGO: Headed to Hawaii

SEVEN YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

NINE YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways