I have been reading Abla’s Lebanese Kitchen, a comprehensive book on ‘homestyle’ Lebanese cooking with many interesting recipes. One that caught my eye was the Meat and Pine Nut Pastries. Abla uses a Lebanese pastry but I used fresh filo as that is what I had. I also added some chopped mint and parsley from the herb garden to freshen it up a bit. The pastries could be served as part of a mezza (a meal of many small dishes and salads that often precedes another meal though it can be a meal in itself) or as a lunch dish with some Lebanese dips and salads.
olive oil for greasing
1 x 375 g packet fresh filo pastry
For the filling:
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
250 g coarsely ground lean lamb
1 onion (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground sumac
1 tbs fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 tbs fresh mint (finely chopped)
Toast pine nuts gently in a dry pan until a light golden brown (keep an eye on them as they burn easily). Set aside. Put a little oil in the pan and fry the meat until all the moisture has gone and the meat is lightly browned. Add chopped onion and fry for a further three or four minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the salt and spices and fry for a further two minutes or until fragrant. Turn off the heat and stir through the chopped herbs. Allow to cool.
Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush it gently with olive oil. Place another filo pastry sheet on top and slice the the two sheets length ways down the middle. Put a little of the filling in the top corner of one of the pastry sheets, fold the other corner over to form a triangle, keep folding up the pastry sheet from corner to corner until you have a neat parcel. Place on a greased tray. Brush pastries with olive oil and sprinkle on some cumin seeds (optional). Bake in a preheated 220° C oven for 20 mins turning once. Reduce heat to 180°C and cook for a further 10 – 15 mins until golden brown and crispy.