You ever just get in the mood for food that is a bit different? You know, some different flavours than those you experience in the same old run of the mill dinners. I definitely felt that way recently and was quite intrigued to see this recipe for Moroccan Beef Bundles. Hmmm….let’s see….this recipe has that familiar old ground beef, but it is seasoned with cinnamon, ginger and mint. Well, that’s a bit different. And then there was that yogurt/harissa sauce to be served along with it. Harissa? Where would one find Harissa? It seems it is a spicy chile paste which comes from North Africa. The blog on which this recipe was found claimed that you would be able to find it in the International Aisle of your supermarket, or a Middle Eastern Market. So off I went to my local Giant and though I searched high and low, there was no Harissa to be found. Then I remembered that there was a Penzeys Spices store close by. I was sure they would have it, however once I arrived there (yup…should’ve called ahead) I was informed that they did not carry it. Luckily, the salesperson was quite helpful and suggested I head down the street to a store called The Lebanese Butcher. On a mission at this point, I set right out and with the assistance of a very helpful salesperson, was able to get my hands on some Harissa.
Clutching my prized Harissa I was all set to make these little Moroccan Beef Bundles and rushed right home to get started. Everything went quite smoothly as I prepared the Moroccan Beef stuffing. The house smelled amazing…very exotic! Then came the time to work with the phyllo dough. Having never worked with this type of dough before, I didn’t know what to expect. All I can say is God Bless anyone who has to fool with this stuff on a daily basis! It was definitely challenging to get that phyllo into the muffin tins. In the end I won out, but came quite close to losing my religion several times while fiddling around with that stuff! I am happy to say though that in the end it was worth it!
The Moroccan Beef Bundles were delicious, and that Harissa/yougurt sauce was fantastic. It really spiced things up. Oh, and just a word of advice for those of you who think there is nothing too spicy for you and are tempted to stick your finger in the harissa to get a large dollop to pop right onto your unsuspecting taste buds….DON’T! That stuff is the real deal SPICY! You know… coughing, sputtering and sweating spicy. Consider yourself warned. That being said, combined with the yougurt which mellows it out significantly, it is gorgeous! I served the bundles for dinner with some spinach and chickpea couscous. Delicious!
But these little gems would also make great appetizers. So when you’re in the mood to try something a bit different, are prepared to go on the hunt for Harissa, and are not short on patience, try these amazing Moroccan Beef Bundles.
Moroccan Beef Bundles
recipe from: In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita
Yield: 12 bundles
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh chopped ginger
- ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- ½ cup jarred tomato puree
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 package phyllo pastry
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter, for brushing phyllo pastry
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tbsp. harissa sauce, store-bought or homemade
In a large fry pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook ground beef until well browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add onions, garlic and ginger, cinnamon and cumin and continue to cook until onions have softened and mixture is fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and continue to cook until moisture from the tomato puree has evaporated and mixture looks dry, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and mint. Remove mixture from heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut phyllo sheets into 4-inch squares and brush each square lightly with olive oil or melted butter. Place 6 squares of phyllo into each muffin cup, overlapping each layer. Spoon 2 ½ tbsp. the beef mixture into each of the phyllo cups and then carefully pleat the phyllo bundle closed. Brush tops with more olive oil or melted butter.
Bake bundles until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir together yogurt and harissa sauce and serve with bundles.