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.

(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.


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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Thanks to the wonders of pressure cooking, this chili can be on your table in 20 minutes, and I promise you it will taste as complex as one that simmered on the stove for hours. I used ground bison because we love it and it’s always available in our grocery store, but of course you can use ground beef or a mixture of  beef and pork.  I don’t think turkey will work well without some major adjustments because the meat needs to have some fat to stand the high pressure cooking without drying up.  If you want to make this in a regular pan, simply increase the cooking time, use the method you normally do for chili.  I adapted this recipe from several sources, using tips from cookbooks such as Hip Pressure Cooking and Pressure Cooker Perfection. For those interested, this recipe is Paleo-friendly. Not exactly low-carb due to the amount of tomatoes, but I’d say not that heavy in the carb department either.

Bison Chili

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
salt and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 pound ground bison
1/4 pound Italian sausage, mild
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large skillet, saute the shallots seasoned lightly with salt. When they pieces are translucent and fragrant, add the chili powder and cumin, mixing constantly for a minute or so. You can do this initial step in the pressure cooker itself, but I prefer to use a pan with a larger surface.

Add the ground bison and sausage, increasing the heat to high. Cook them until they are no longer pink, but do not let them get brown. Stir the tomatoes and water, transfer everything to the pressure cooker.

Close the pan, bring the pressure up and cook under pressure for 12 minutes. Release the pressure quickly by running the pan under cold water in the sink or using another method available for your pan.  Open the pan, if the chili is too liquid simmer for a few minutes until it reaches the consistency you like. If too thick, add a little more water.   Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.


to print the recipe, click here

Bison Chili served

Comments:  We both loved this recipe, but I decided I loved it more than Phil,  so leftovers were all mine, and enjoyed several days in a row for lunch. I don’t know about you, but we like to have variety at dinner time. We never repeat the same meal two days in a row. But I can have the exact same lunch for five consecutive days and see absolutely nothing wrong or boring with it.  Go figure…

Chili in general is quite  substantial, and this one is no different. I normally serve it with slices of avocado, a little grated cheese and call it a day. But of course, a piece or two of cornbread could go well too.  As usual with chili, you can make it furiously fiery by adding more chili, cayenne, maybe shake some Sriracha on top.  Particularly with meat as flavorful as bison, we prefer to use a lighter hand with the seasoning, and added only one tablespoon of chili powder. It does get better with each passing day, I can vouch for that!

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