Monday, July 6, 2015

Something fun to grill - Egyptian Kofta

This is the hamburger of Egypt or even possibly of the middle east.  I first had these at this great hole-in-the-wall Egyptian restaurant in Allston called Azama Grill  .  They mold the meat around a skewer, but I decided to skip the wooden skewer and just made the same long shape... kind of a like a sausage or a long skinny hamburger.

1 yellow onion, quartered
1/4 - 1/2 purple onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 lbs. ground beef or lamb or a combination

1. Put the onions and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped.

2. To the onion mixture in the food processor add the cumin, salt, pepper, chopped parsley and the ground meat. Process until the meat and the onions and parsley are thoroughly combined and the blades are running smoothly.

3. Shape into sausage logs and arrange on a sheet pan (makes approximately 9 koftas) and refrigerate until ready to grill (from 4-10 hours).

4. Brush koftas with olive oil and cook on a hot grill until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, turning as needed.

These can be served with tahini sauce and lettuce or just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cornish Pasties

Happy New Year.

For our annual New Year's Eve gathering yesterday the food theme was "wrapped" so we worked up this version of the beef Cornish Pasty to make and bring.  They were delicious warm out of the oven and also cooler (but still warmish) at the party and this morning heated up in the toaster oven.  We made about 30 smaller pasties, but you could also make fewer larger ones for a picnic or just for fun.

When I was growing up we had some family friends who went to live in Newcastle in northern England for a year and they always made the most delicious hand meat pies with ground beef so that is what I have always associated with Cornish Pasties.  However, when I started looking into how to make them I found out that all the English recipes from Jamie Oliver to the BBC and beyond called for steak cut up into small pieces.  I then questioned my daughter who spent two weeks last summer traveling in England and she concurred.  The Pasty is full of chunky meat and veggies.

Most of the recipes had the filling go in raw, however, I wanted to cook it ahead and allow the meat to braise and get tender. Plus if I made a stew I could add a few secret ingredients that would increase the robust flavor of the filling.

If you have any left over filling it is delicious served warm over toast or with fresh focaccia.

For the filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil
beef steaks (a cheap cut is fine) 2 - 3 lbs. trimmed of all extra fat and cut into small pieces (1/3 of an inch)
2 large onions chopped into fine dice
2 large carrots chopped into fine dice
1-3 potatoes chopped into small cubes
1 cup peas, optional
1-2 cups low salt chicken broth (or homemade)
1/2 cup red wine, ale or dark beer (like Guinness)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce
1-2 anchovies, mashed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

I made the filling a day or two ahead of time to make sure the flavors had some time to develop.
Heat a large dutch oven over moderate heat and add olive oil.
Season beef with salt and pepper and brown thoroughly on both sides.
Remove meat from pan with slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
Add onions and carrots to the pan.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened.
Add beef back in.
Add wine or ale and cook about 2 minutes, scraping the bottom to release any burnt bits.
Add potatoes, stock, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, anchovies and herb sprigs/leaves.
Bring to a boil and lower heat to a gentle simmer.
Simmer for 30-45 minutes until beef is very tender.
Sprinkle flour over the stew and stir, cooking for five more minutes until sauce is thickened.
Add 1 cup peas and stir to combine.
Pour or ladle stew into a storage container with an airtight lid and refridgerate until ready to use.

To assemble the Cornish Pasties:

1 recipe filling, cold
savory pie crust (I use Pillsbury, but homemade is excellent too)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water for the egg wash.

Preheat oven to 350 (350 convection)

 Use a cereal bowl to cut pie crust into 4 to 5 inch circles
Place 1 rounded teaspoon full of filling in the center of the circle
Fold over dough and press edges down to seal.  Go over edges with a fork to seal completely.
Place on parchment covered sheet pan and poke with fork to create a steam vent.
Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling.