Sunday, February 11, 2007
Greek BBQ Pie Recipe

You know, I'm not so good on actual recipes. You need to see Joke or Kim for that, because they are very good at it indeed.

I'm more of a technique gal. I know enough to know what works, and usually have that sort of channelly feeling in my head when trying something new: sort of an internal humming that says "yes, sumac," or "the powdered oregano, not the fresh, you moron" (yes, my inner chef-channeller can be a rude bitch).

So when, on a recent warm evening, I decided I wanted to use the minced beef in the fridge but did not want to cook indoors, nor did I want to barbeque rissoles again, my inner (rude bitch) chef channeled this one up.

Greek BBQ Pie for five with leftovers

  • Olive oil
  • As much garlic as you can take, smashed with the side of a knife and cut across the grain
  • Half an onion, finely chopped (or not so fine if you don't have to hide it from children)
  • A carrot, finely chopped, and similar for celery, if you have it ( I didn't, and inner chef was cross with me)
  • 5-600grams minced beef (lamb would also serve admirably)
  • one tin of drained cannelini beans, or similar
  • about two cups of stock - I know this may cause shudders but I have a big supply of chicken stock in the freezer and it is so rich I felt it would go with the beef and SO It Did. (capitals for the sake of those who won't drink red wine with fish). Beef stock, obviously, would work but perhaps it would be too obvious?
  • tablespoonful of tomato paste
  • Hoyts Greek Giro mix, see picture above (click on it to get bigger view) or similar mix of greek herbs. Nothing fresh from the garden this time, inner chef said 'no'.
  • five or six medium potatoes, boiled or in my case microwaved in the magic terracotta crock*
  • fetta cheese, in large crumbles

In my case, for the aforementioned climatic reasons, this was cooked in a paella pan on the barbeque, with the hood used to keep temperatures steady. Any old stove top would give similar results.

  1. soften garlic, onion, carrot and celery in olive oil in a wide, open pan
  2. add mince and brown lightly, breaking up well as it cooks
  3. add stock (also wine, I donated a glass) and tomato paste and stir well, adding also the Greek Giro mix or similar.
  4. Mix through the cannelini beans.
  5. Cook down until mixture is growing thick but not dry, it should feel like meat pie consistency so add more liquid if not enough sauce is evident.
  6. thickly slice the cooked potatoes and arrange them to cover the meat
  7. scatter the fetta cheese crumbles over the potatoes and cook another five minutes or so, either with hood down (bbq) or possibly inside oven if indoors - you want the fetta and potato to start to brown without drying out.

Serve, to the acclaim of large husband and small children, at least three of whom will request leftovers for lunches at work and school the following day.

Try to think of clever name and instead come up with Greek BBQ Pie.

Bon appetit



*The magic terracotta crock, as seen in the photos above, does truly extraordinary things to potatoes in the microwave. I live in dread of the day that one of my thousands of children inevitably knocks it to a smashing end, but until then, I can assure you all that you have NEVER tasted a potato unless you have eaten it dry-steamed from my terracotta crock. Mine came from my ex-husband's aunty, a professional potter and the sort of hippy who owns a microwave. Sheer bloody genius.



Anonymous shula said...

I am never going to hear the end of this from Joke, but..

what is sumac?

(ps. I'm the kind of hippie who uses a microwave, too, but only for very specific things).

Blogger Blue Moon Girl said...

Mmmmmm, sounds yummy! And it's only 10 o'clock in the morning here!

I understand what you mean about the terra cotta pot. Ours broke in the last move and I haven't been able to find another and I'm still a little sad about that.

And I'm with Shula, what do you mean by sumac? I know sumac as a plant, but it's an ingredient too?

Blogger MsCellania said...

You're the 3rd person to exclaim about a terracotta potatoe cooker! And not one to be found now.
Semms like a business opportunity for SomeBody...

The dinner sounds yummy. I have been cooking alot this week. But I cannot wait for outdoor cooking again. I LOVE to barbeque.

One pot cookers, crock pots, and tagines all seem to really be picking up in popularity

Blogger Joke said...

Hmm...I must seek out a way to get said terracotta thing...


Blogger Joke said...

P.S. Sumac is an "Eastern Mediterranean" (Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, etc.) berry. It's got a fruity/tangy sour thing going on and usually lends a light pinkish tinge to foods.

As joke said re the sumac: my inner chef channeller bitch conversation might go something like
Me: "maybe some cumin?"
Inner Chef Bitch: "Cumin?! Are you nuts? Do you want to DESTROY this meal?"
Me: "How about paprika?"
ICB: "You are stoopid, stoopid, stoopid."
Me: "Ok, I got it now, a touch of smokey spanish paprika with a teaspoon of sumac."
ICB: "Yay. Now piss off and cook, will you? Bill Grainger's on tv."

Anonymous Uli said...

That sounds great and pretty easy. Will have to try it.

Blogger Stomper Girl said...

That looks absolutely sensational! I laughed about the finely chopped onion to avoid detection by the small-people, that goes on at our house!

I think I was at the end of the queue when the Inner-Chefs were being handed out. Suspect I was fobbed off with an Inner-Apprentice at best.

Blogger Joke said...

My inner chef doesn't exist. I have an inner restaurant critic instead. He finds EVERY flaw.


Blogger MsCellania said...

Luckily, my inner chef seems to be on permanent vacation and the restaurant critic has flown the coop as well.
Now? I'm just grateful for so much as a grit! Cooked by ANYBODY else.
But lately? I'm awfully fond of baby bok choy...

Anonymous tracey petersen said...

Sounds delicious!
My children came fitted with an onion radar that can detect even the most finely diced onion! I have to use leek as a poor substitute.
My inner chef is very generous and allows others to cook as often as possible.

Anonymous CrankMama said...

Dude. You cook? You are IMPRESSIVE!

Blogger nutmeg said...

Oh goody I have a large stock of minces in the freezer. But, alas, no terracotta crock. I wonder if my local Greek restaurant would be willing to part with one? Oh, I'd also have to locate some Greek Giro Mix as well :-) It looks so good I can nearly smell it from here.

Nutmeg, my lovely, I got mine from woolworths. But if you can't find it I will bring you some on our next, much postponed, meeting.

Cranky Rachel - fark yes. It keeps me sane.

Stomper and Misc and Tracey - really, you're not missing anything in the absence of inner chef - she's a cow.

Joke. Like, you know? You do know, don't you?

Blogger velcro said...

I could do with an inner chef, possibly along the lines of Nigella but never ever Delia.

The meal sounds rather scrummy. Shall have to try to sneak it under the FB's strict anti-cheese radar

Blogger Joke said...
Blogger My float said...

MMmmm. You know my address. Please feel free to drop off the leftovers.

Blogger meggie said...

Really, what can I say??

I never knew that about terracotta pots & microwaves...must try it.

I uitilise the microwave a lot, because of humid kitchen rages!

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