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.

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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.

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