Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers Spicy and Flakey Samosa Pie

I saw these samosas being made on a morning show the Friday after Thanksgiving. Little triangles of leftover vegies were wrapped in phyllo dough and baked until crispy. Samosas are an Indian appetizer or street food.A spicy potato and vegetable mixture is wrapped in dough, fried, and served with a fresh chutney. I have made them a number of times before, and I had 1/2 package of phyllo, leftover potatoes and vegetables, so I figured I could come up with something similar.

The phyllo was leftover from making a vegetarian entree of Spanakopita for Thanksgiving, and I knew that it probably wasn't supple enough the second day to do all that folding. Also I was feeling a little flakey from the feasting and wining the night before to do that much work, so a pie was the better way to go. Great, it worked out. The pie looked gorgeous and tasted authentically Indian. It was a little spicy for some, but the heat can be adjusted to suit tastes.


1/2 1b. Phyllo Dough
2 Tbsp. Oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups Mashed Potatoes
2 small Carrots, diced
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 cup cooked Spinach, chopped
8 Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
1/2 tsp. Cumin, ground
salt 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp Cayenne or to taste (I used leftover Padron Peppers, pan-broiled)
1/2 cup melted Butter and Olive Oil combined, for assembling pie

Saute onions and carrots in 2 Tbsp. oil until softened. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes, add garlic and ginger, saute 1 minute, add spinach, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper or padrons and saute 2 minutes. Stir in mashed potatoes.

Brush a 10" pie pan with oil or butter. Place a phyllo leaf on it and brush again. The edges will drape over the side; that's OK for later. Repeat 3 times until you have 4 layers with oil in between.

Smooth the filling in the phyllo crust. Top with 4 layers of phyllo dough, brushed with oil or butter in between each sheet, and bring up the draped sides to form a rim. Keep the phyllo flexible by covering with a damp towel between uses. Bruth the top and sides with oil.

Phyllo dough is very forgiving. Since we are using leftover dough, it can be a little dry and the leaves tend to stick together. Just do the best you can; it will come out fine.

Bake in a 375 F degree oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and crispy.‌

Serve with mint chutney, if possible.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Diane's Phyllo Rolls with Chicken, Spinach, and Herbed Goat Cheese

Reconnecting with old friends on the Internet is pretty easy these days. One of the benefits is that they remember things you shared together that one has long forgotten. My friend, Diane, who worked with me at the old Ledford House in Little River many, many long years ago, requested a recipe for a dish I served there. I had not thought of this particular recipe for years, but I still think it is a good one, and the ingredients can be updated now.

Back then, I used a good French Goat Cheese, Boucheron, but there are now many California farmhouse goat cheeses which would work as well, if not better. They were not available locally, "whey" back then.
This time, I used a Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery Chevre, a creamy goat cheese from Sonoma County, CA.

Although this is a fairly elaborate dish and worthy of a special occasion, once the ingredients are cooked and prepped, it is fairly easy to assemble. The cheese, spinach, and creme fraiche can all be made ahead of time, and even the Phyllo rolls can be put together and refrigerated to be popped into the oven at the last moment.

Phyllo pastry has gone through some changes also. It is available in the freezer sections of larger grocery stores and some smaller ones now. Whole wheat Phyllo dough is a recent option; it is healthier and sturdier, but is a little chewier. I used a regular Athens Phyllo, but Organic is available, too.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

Herbed Goat Cheese:
4-ounce Boucheron or other creamy goat cheese, softened
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped (0r 1 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh dill, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 small clove garlic, minced

16 frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed (approx. 8" x 12")
Melted butter or olive oil

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, using a
meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Sauté spinach and onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until
onion is tender. Remove from heat. When cooled down, chop roughly.
Blend Boucheron with basil, dill, and garlic with fork, cuisinart, or stand mixer.
Spoon 1/8 spinach mixture and 1/8 cheese mixture on center of each chicken breast half, and roll up,
jellyroll fashion.
Unfold phyllo sheets on a lightly floured surface. Stack 2 phyllo sheets, brush with melted butter,
stack 2 more sheets on top and brush again with melted butter. (Keep remaining phyllo sheets covered
with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.) Place 1 chicken roll on short side of phyllo stack; gently
roll up, folding in long side. Repeat procedure with remaining pastry, melted butter, and chicken.
Place rolls in a shallow pan, and brush with melted butter. Phyllo rolls may be refrigerated at the
point; Allow for an extra 5 minutes cooking time.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Serve topped with about 3 Tbsp. creme fraiche.

CREME FRAICHE: In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the cream to 105 degrees F (40 degrees C). Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Transfer the cream to a large bowl and allow this mixture to stand in a warm place, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until thickened but still of pouring consistency. This process takes anywhere from 24 to 36 hours, depending on your room temperature. The creme fraiche is ready when it is thick with a slightly nutty sour taste. Chill cream, in the refrigerator, for several hours before using. Creme fraiche may be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.