Bob’s (Deconstructed) Pastel: Israeli Meat Pie

We blog about this recipe here.

Bob's (Deconstructed) Pastel: Israeli Meat Pie

Modified by Bob from the NY Times recipe by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook which was adapted by Melissa Clark

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 T Diamond Kosher salt
  • 1/2 T black pepper
  • 1 pound puff pastry, defrosted (see note)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 T chopped parsley
  • 3 T chopped dill
  • 2 T sesame seeds

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté until vegetables have softened, but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add beef, cinnamon, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Cook until beef begins to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let mixture cool completely.

Note from Bob: Step 1 is easy and basic. Was surprised by the cinnamon, but it was a very tasty addition. I used a small food processor to “finely chop” the carrots and onion (just “chop” we don’t want puree). Do not be afraid to use the veggies! The salt and pepper amounts seem right, if you are using 2 pounds of beef. We cut everything about in half, yielding four nice servings. 

Possible addition: mushrooms! Fresh, sliced mushrooms make most things better. Start by sauteing the the mushrooms and set them aside when they are done, sauté the carrots and onion, get the beef almost finished and then add the ‘shrooms back to the pan. 

Step 2
While beef is cooking, split puff pastry in half if it’s in one piece. Roll out each piece with a floured rolling pin to roughly 9 x 11 inches. Line an 8- or 9- x 11-inch baking dish, or a shallow 2-quart gratin dish, with 1 piece of pastry, pulling up the dough to cover the sides of baking dish.

Step 3
Whisk 2 eggs and add to cooled beef mixture. Spoon mixture over pastry and top with chopped parsley and dill. Top with remaining piece of pastry, pinching together the sides of both pieces of pastry. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours) or freeze for 15 minutes.

Step 4
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk remaining egg and brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden on top, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. Pastel may appear wet when removed from oven, but pastry will absorb the moisture as it sits. 

Note from Bob: I’d skip the egg as it doesn’t add much flavor. If you stir it into the hot beef mixture it’ll seem like fried rice, that might not be appetizing.

Trash steps 2 through 4!!

Bob’s Serving Suggestions:

First suggestion: Cook a batch of rice (we use brown basmati rice almost all the time) while you are working on Step 1. Rice and spiced beef can be timed to complete simultaneously. Serve the spiced beef over the rice. Nice touch, if available: sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill and toasted sesame seeds.

Second serving alternative: Cook pasta! Use egg noodles or rigatoni (the rice-alternative rigs are great). Serve as above.  Note: if the result seems a little too “dry” to work with rice or pasta, one can easily add a splash or two of broth with perhaps a dollop of yogurt on top.

Third alternative: Use store-bought pie crust and make meat pies with the spiced beef, sealing around the edges and baking in a shallow pan in case of a pastry seal failure. You can bake this at the 400-degree level… just watch to be sure it doesn’t burn. Note: you might want to cool the spiced beef before assembling the little pies, and that would seem a good time to add the whisked eggs. Serve hot. 

Recipe brought to you by MountainWestBob, and Andy and Ann.


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