Filo Pomegranate Pork Parcels

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Curry? No. Chicken? No. Pasta? No. Though the ingredients were available, they just didn’t rock my boat. We did have some pork mince in the fridge and Mr MWCED said “use that filo up”, so that was a start. I felt like something a little different to our usual, and found some great middle eastern recipes – it feels a bit wrong to use pork, but as (1) we don’t eat beef or lamb and (2) I had pork, well I’d just have to go with it (and absolutely no disrespect intended). I love pomegranate molasses flavour – though for some reason the bottle seems to sit at the back of the pantry and I forget about using it. So, out you come and flavour up tonight’s dinner!

I got the original recipe from here – though made a few alterations. After googling “znoud el-sit” the most common recipe seems to be a sweet deep fried pastry and not savoury. I don’t do deep fry – and the body doesn’t particularly like it either – but definitely want to try one of these one day – they look very bad but very very good.

I served the pork with Israeli couscous (cooked in a vegetable broth, then sliced spring onions, mint, parsley and coriander, s&p added) and a healthy green salad (freshly picked from the garden).

For those with moderation, one of these with sides would probably be enough. For the likes of people like me who just don’t have enough resolve to be moderate, then 2 was plenty. If I could have, I would have had 3 – because they were so good! At least there is something left over for lunch tomorrow!

Recipe:

  • ⅓ cup             pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup)             olive oil, plus extra, to brush
  • 1                      large onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g               pork mince
  • 1-1/2 tbsp        pomegranate molasses, plus extra, to serve
  • 6 sheets          filo pastry, fresh or thawed

Spice mixture:

  • ½ tsp               allspice
  • ½ tsp               black pepper
  • ½ tsp               ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp               ground coriander
  • ½ tsp               ground cumin
  • ½ tsp               ground nutmeg

Instructions

To make spice mixture, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Place pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned, then remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to the pan with onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until browned. Add the spice mixture and ¾ tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface or chopping board, with a long edge facing you. Brush the half closest to you with oil, then fold in half lengthwise. Turn filo so that the short edge is facing you and brush with oil. Place 1/6th of the cooled filling along the short edge closest to you, leaving a 2.5 cm border on sides and bottom. Roll short edge over filling to enclose, then fold in the 2 longer sides and roll up to form a cigar shape. Place seam side-down on prepared oven tray and repeat with remaining filo pastry and filling to make 6 rolls.

(you can make these rolls larger or smaller.  If larger I’d use 2 sheets of filo pastry per roll)

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve pastries with extra pomegranate molasses and some hummus on the side.

Herby Israeli Couscous
Rocket & Cos, Red Onion and Garden Tomato Salad, dressed with Balsamic Syrup

Ginger Meatballs and Coconut Broth

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Saturday night – need something that is reasonably easy to eat for Mr MWCED had a tooth extracted/stitches so doesn’t want anything too hard on his gums. I had pork mince and a quick search on my favourite food blog soon found the inspiration. Thank you once again, Smitten Kitchen.

The original recipe suggests that the broth is sieved – but I wanted to ‘beef’ it up with some vegetables so added some onion, celery and carrots. You can add whatever else might be in the magic fridge – I would.

This would serve about 4 people – though I’d probably add a few more veges, make more meatballs or have a side of something. While I halved the original recipe for the meatballs I kept the broth at around the same amount of ingredients – for you can never have enough of a delicious broth, right? Chile is up to you – you could use more, or less.

MEATBALLS

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2  tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  •  teaspoons salt

BROTH

  • One 165ml can coconut cream
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • salt
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced celery stalk
  • 1 small carrot thinly sliced
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Coriander and mint for serving

Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Make small size meatballs and place them on a baking tray about 1-inch apart. Bake until the meatballs are golden brown and just cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the broth: In a large saucepan, combine everything except the spinach and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat so the broth is simmering. Simmer 10 minutes, until the flavours are infused into the broth. Season to taste, if needed, with salt. 
Add the meatballs to the broth, return to a simmer, cover, and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Add spinach and cook just to wilt. Season the broth with salt and lime juice if necessary. Serve with herbs, additional chiles, lime wedges, rice and roti.

Lentil and Potato Salad

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It is winter and some comfort food never goes amiss.   This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, my go to blog for tasty recipes.    I didn’t change it up too much – except for substituting Coriander for Parsley – the Coriander in the garden looked much, much too good not to use.     And I also paired the salad with another Smitten Kitchen recipe – Chicken Skewers with Dukkah – though took Deb’s suggestion of omitting the skewers.   Next time I think I would halve the dukkah and sub panko crumbs.  They were still tasty though – and great with aioli and a home-made chilli tomato chutney.    In fact the aioli and chutney go great with the salad too.

Lentil & Potato Salad

Serves between 4 and 6

2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 finely diced,
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils (smaller keep their shape better)
Salt and pepper
500g small potatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (my cupboard was bare, so used white wine vinegar with a splash of red wine that just happened to be open….)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (your preference)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cornichons or other sour gherkins, roughly chopped
1 to 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped coriander

Cook lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a small/medium saucepan with the halved shallot, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes: Either boil or steam – until they are tender, but not too soft. Drain and keep warm.

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, cornichon and scallions.

Assemble salad: Slice potatoes into small chunks and place in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon coriander and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining coriander.

This can be a stand-alone lunch, maybe add a poached egg, or as a side.  Can be reheated – and keeps in fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!