I love anything wrapped in a pastry; well, almost anything. Who doesn't love a flaky, fluffy, buttery, melt in your mouth pastry enveloping a delicious sweet or savory filling? I don't know anyone, do you?
A school lesson
Years ago when I was homeschooling my son, an experience I would like to bury deep in the confines of my memory, I taught a class on empanadas from around the world. It was a hit with the kids, and the couple of moms who were my helpers. It's really cool that virtually every culture in the world has their own version of a stuffed pastry.
Meat Pastries in every culture
Turkish meat pastry ( Talas Kebabi) are a close cousin of the typical Latin American/Spanish empanada. However, these little gems use ½ the seasonings without sacrificing any of the flavor. One of the herbs used in this savory puff pastry recipe is fresh mint; courtesy of my garden. Talas Kebabi reflect a French influence, hence the use of puff pastry. Traditionally the dish calls for lamb, but I have used beef instead. Sometimes it is difficult to find lamb during non-holiday times. I really wish lamb was more popular in the US.
The first time I made these spicy Turkish meat pastries my son had a friend over to visit. To my great horror my son invited his friend to stay for dinner. Normally, I don't mind, but whenever I make something for the first time I prefer to have only my family as the guinea pigs. That's just me! Luckily they turned out great. The friend even helped by brushing the egg wash onto the puff pastry and had seconds and thirds. Success!! These puff pastry appetizers are definitely a keeper I think.
Want to try more dishes from the Mediterranean?
My Easy Chicken Shawarma is a great main. If you love roasted lamb, you'll love my Turkish-Style Rack of Lamb that's roasted on a pan and served with delicious herbed couscous and yogurt sauce. If you're looking for a meatless option, I recommend my Turkish Chickpea Burgers if it's sides you're craving then a light and delicious Orange and Onion Salad makes the perfect "un-salad." Before dinner, snack on Ezme, Turkish pepper and tomato relish.
Spicy Turkish Meat Pastries
Here is a Turkish favorite recipe. Talas Kebabi is a spicy meat filled puff pastry and so easy to make. You'll love the exotic flavors in this!
- In a skillet over medium heat, stir fry the beef until lightly brown.
- Add the onions and garlic and stir.
- Add the spices and mint and the tomato paste and water and blend together well.
- Reduce heat and cover.
- Cook for about 25 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- To assemble, roll out each puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut into 4x4 squares.
- Place a small amount of filling in the center of a square. Top with another square and seal with the tines of a fork.
- Brush with egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Serve warm.