Recipes through the Ages The Scent of Blue Lotus Phyllo Meat Pie
A recipe found while writing my current work in progress set 1899-1900 in Egypt. A woman is summoned by her husband after three years apart because he's in the army there, but when he tried to kill her the next day all sorts of trouble is unleashed.
For some reason, this is also called Egyptian goulash despite the face its closer to a savory version of baklava.
For the layers
16 oz. package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed in its package
1 egg, whisked in 1 cup of milk
1 cup extra virgin olive oil OR 1/2 cup olive oil combined with 1/2 cup melted butter
For the meat filling
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Carefully lay the thawed phyllo dough sheets between two lightly damp kitchen towels.
Begin with preparing the meat filling. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick pan. On medium-high heat, saute the chopped onions briefly. Add the ground beef. Cook until fully browned, tossing regularly. Remove the pan from the heat briefly to drain any fat, then return back to the stove. Add in the spices and stir to fully combine. Remove from the heat.
Now, to assemble the phyllo pie, lay three to four sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of a lightly greased 9 1/2 x 13 x 2 1/4 inch baking pan. Fold any excess dough in. Brush the top phyllo sheet very generously with the melted butter and oil mixture. Repeat this step as you lay three to four sheets of phyllo at a time in the baking pan until you have used up 1/2 of the phyllo sheets.
Now, as you have a nice base for your pie, spread the meat filling evenly on top of the last phyllo sheet.
Layer the remaining sheets on top of the meat repeating the same process as before (again, three or four sheets at a time, fold excess phyllo and butter the top sheet) until the phyllo sheets are used up.
Brush the top sheet very generously with the butter and olive oil mixture. With a sharp knife, cut the phyllo pie into 12 squares.
Season the prepared milk and egg mixture with salt and pepper and pour evenly over the pie.
Place the phyllo meat pie on the middle rack of the 350 degrees F heated-oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through. It should turn a nice golden brown. Be watchful so that pie does not over bake or burn.
Serve warm with a side salad! Enjoy!
– Do not skimp on “buttering” the phyllo layers as indicated above. Make sure you drizzle or brush a generous amount of the olive oil mixture so that each layer is well soaked. If you want to stay on the healthy side, you can always adjust the mixture to have more olive oil than butter.
– If you want to prepare the pie ahead of time, you can follow the steps all the way to step 11, but do not pour the milk-egg mixture over until just before you have to bake it. The pie must be covered tightly and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Do not prepare more than one night ahead.