This post got lost and forgotten somewhere, so it's not very seasonal and I apologize. But you can look forward to making it next Fall.
And you should look forward to it. Sweet, caramelized pumpkin with spices, creamy yogurt, and tangy tomato sauce? Yes, please. This is one of my favorite Afghan dishes, called kadu bouranee.
And these delicious Moroccan inspired meat pies made with phyllo, ground beef, and spices are the perfect main to complement the pumpkin. You could also make the Afghan meat dumplings called mantu, of course, but they require a little bit more work.
So, for the kadu bouranee - take a small sugar pumpkin and peel it. That step sounds simple, right? Only if you have never tried to peel a pumpkin before. I found this to be seriously next to impossible. Then I read on the internet to microwave it for a few minutes first - genius! Once you have the pumpkin peeled, cut it in half, scoop out the guts, then cut it into cubes or (if you want to be pretty) long wedges.
Brown in a dutch oven, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake until tender. Then top with yogurt and tomato sauces. Usually the tomato sauce has ground beef or lamb in it, but since I was making meat pies as well I left the meat out.
For the meat pies - cook ground beef (or lamb) with onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin, yum!
Add in tomato puree, mint, and parsley.
Brush phyllo with melted butter (or use the super easy shortcut of cooking spray), fit into a muffin tin, fill with the meat mixture, fold up and bake.
The pies come out crispy and flaky and filled with spiced meat goodness. I served them with extra yogurt and tomato sauces from the pumpkin.
2-2.5 lb sugar pumpkin
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef (I left this out)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Set the oven at 350.
Cut the pumpkin into quarters (easier if you microwave first). Scoop out the seeds and stringy parts, peel, and cut down into about 2-inch chunks.
Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven. Brown the pumpkin pieces, turning frequently, until golden brown (about 5 minutes.) Mix the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over pumpkin. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.
While the pumpkin is baking, make the yogurt sauce and the meat sauce.
Yogurt sauce: mix together yogurt with one clove of crushed garlic in a bowl; season to taste with salt & pepper.
Meat sauce: heat oil in a skillet and cook the onions until lightly browned. Add ground beef, garlic, salt, and pepper; mix well and cook until beef is browned. Add tomato sauce and water, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer, lower heat, and cook about 20 min until it cooks down to a thick sauce.
To serve: spoon yogurt sauce onto dinner plates, add a portion of the cooked pumpkin, top with meat sauce, and sprinkle with dried mint.
Moroccan Meat Pies
adapted from In the Kitchen
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef or lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 package phyllo dough
½ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter, for brushing phyllo pastry (I use cooking spray)
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper; cook until well browned, 7 -10 min. Add onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin and continue to cook until onions have softened and mixture is fragrant, about 3-5 min. Add the tomato puree and continue to cook until moisture from the tomato puree has evaporated and mixture looks dry, about 10 min. 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 cup of a standard muffin tin, overlapping each layer. Spoon 2 1/2 tbsp of 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 pies until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot, about 15-20 min.