Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's all Greek to me.

I have a friend that doesn't eat cute meat. That is, animals that she would have as a pet, she won't eat. Now I agree to the extent that I probably wouldn't want to eat a cat (I love my pain in the ass cat), but if I was in a country that ate cat I guess I would try it. What I have found is that the cuter the animal the more delicious it is. Lamb, pork, rabbit, all delicious. I think it's a healthy attitude to have if you're connected to where your food comes from. If you don't want to think about eating animals, be a vegetarian. Okay, so who's still reading? Good, you either have a healthy sense of what you eat and a good sense of humor, or you're completely disgusted by me and you're one of those sickos who can't stop looking at car crash victims. Either way, glad you're here! I am such a carnivore I truly have no idea how I managed to be vegetarian for 8 years. Perhaps I'm making up for those years but if you give me the choice of animal or vegetable I will almost always go with the meat. So anyways... Greek food! How's that for a segue?!

I wonder how upset Greek chefs get when the clueless order a gyro (jai-ro)? It's pronounced (yeer-ro) you vlakas uncultured kolodaktilo is probably what they say. Most people that have ever eaten Greek food knows what spanakopita is. You know, spinach, feta cheese, and spices wrapped in phyllo dough. Kreatopita is a meat version of those delicious Greek pies usually involving lamb. Now, phyllo is a little bit difficult to work with. You have to be pretty quick and careful because it's paper thin and dries out quickly. If you lay some plastic wrap over the dough and then keep it covered with a damp kitchen towel you'll be fine. Try making this dish and you will impress even your most jaded of Greek friends! At least the meat eating ones.

Kreatopita

1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 large onion, small diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pound ground lamb
2 packed cups wilted spinach *
1/2 lb Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
kosher salt tt
fresh cracked black pepper tt
20 sheets of phyllo, thawed
olive oil for brushing


* To wilt the spinach, briefly blanch in boiling water about 2-3 minutes. Removed from the water, drain, and wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out the water. Set aside.

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium high heat saute the onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground lamb and brown. Remove from the heat and let come to room temp. Mix in the spinach, spices, 1 egg, dill, and feta. Combine well.

Take out one sheet of phyllo. Lay it flat, brush it with olive oil. Lay another phyllo sheet over the top. Brush with olive oil. Repeat until you have 12 sheets stacked on top of each other. Brush an 8" cake pan with olive oil. Lay the 12 stacked phyllo sheets inside so that it fits into the bottom and corners but still comes up the sides and sticks out. Now stack the 8 leftover sheets of phyllo the same way you did with the bottom sheets. Fill the bottom shell with the lamb mixture. Cover with the top 8 layers and tuck in the excess dough down inside the bottom layer. You can cut away some dough if there's too much. Brush the top of the pie with the other egg. Bake for 35 minutes.

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