Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wrap it in Filo, Boys.

If there is any ingredient I enjoy more than filo, I can't think of it right this moment. Ok, maybe I can, but I won't admit it. I love filo, so if I exaggerate slightly, so be it.

My boys seem to agree. If I wrap ingredients into a flakey filo crust, they eat it. It is that simple.
For a long time, I was stuck on Spanikopita. I love the stuff, and they wolfed it down, so I assume they liked it too. Imagine my delight when I was perusing my new copy of Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess and came across a recipe for Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie. (For those of us who don't speak Stuffy British, that's Zucchini.) All of the ingredients were simple, easy to pull together and wrapped in deliciously crispy filo.

I made it once strictly following the recipe, but used brown basmanti rice instead of plain basmanti rice. It came out of the oven golden brown and beautiful, easily as perfect as the one pictured in the cookbook. It was a huge hit. Unfortunately it took nearly twice as long as I had expected so dinner was served past bedtime. On the upside, starving children will eat just about anything with gusto!

In my next attempt, I made one simple substitution. I used bulgar instead of rice. Mr. Dog hates rice (although he always eats it when I make it- go figure) and bulgar cooks faster than rice. I simply replaced the rice with an equal quantity of bulgar. I also added a hearty squeeze of lemon right before putting the filling into the filo lined pan.
Personally, I much preferred the bulgar version. The flavors just merged a bit more and the nutty flavor of the bulgar added to the overall toasty deliciousness.
And the kids ate it as though I had starved them, even though dinner was served right on time! This will be a new weeknight staple in our house.

Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3 plump courgettes/zucchini
1/2 cup basmati rice (or bulgar if you want to follow my wisdom)
3 cups veg stock
2 cans of chick peas, drained and rinsed
*big lemon (if you want to add it, it is not in the original recipe)
4 tbsp melted butter
8 oz filo pastry
9 inch springform pan
Preheat the oven to 200C and put in a baking sheet. Gently fry the cumin seeds and onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Add the turmeric and coriander. Dice the courgettes (unpeeled), add them to the onion mixture, and cook on a fairly high heat to prevent the courgettes becoming watery. When they are soft but still holding their shape, add the rice and stir well, letting the rice become well coated with the oil/liquid. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring while you do so. When all the liquid has been absorbed the rice should be cooked, so take it off the heat, stir in the chick peas and check the seasoning. At this point I added a big squeeze of lemon juice and I highly recommend it.

Brush the insides of the tin with some of the melted butter. Line the bottom and sides with about 3/4 of the filo, buttering each piece as you layer. Leave a little filo overhanging the sides and keep 3-4 sheets for the top. Carefully put in your slightly cooled filling, and then fold in the overlaps. Butter these down then scrunch up the remaining sheets as a topping. Brush with a final coat of butter and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filo is golden and the filling is hot. Check this by inserting a metal knife which should feel hot when removed.
Serves 6 - 8


gpc said...

This sounds great - I love chickpeas, but never would have thought of this combination!


Lymeade Lady said...

I think this looks great!

Ashwyn said...

Have you had success making this the day before serving? I would like to serve for lunch tomorrow but only have the time to make it today...
Thanks, Karen