When i was last in Greece, me and my clan were out for dinner when the kitchen in the restaurant we were at ran out of the dishes we had asked for. So the chef, came out to us and said – “I’ll make you something special” and he made us this… and boy was it special. I can still taste how good it was. Mmmmm!
1tbsp olive oil
800g cubed lamb
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 heaped tsp ground allspice
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of dried mixed herbs
400ml lamb or beef stock
250ml white wine
300g feta cheese, crumbled
Generous bunch of fresh oregano, leaves picked and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 pack (250g) filo pastry (there are about 10 sheets in a pack but you only need 5 or 6, so use the rest in another recipe or freeze them)
A little olive oil, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Step 1: Pour the oil into a large, deep frying pan and set over a high heat. Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and fry for around 15min or until nicely browned. Don’t stir too much as you want the meat to catch and stick in places – this caramelisation will add lots of intense flavour to the finished dish.
Step 2: Reduce the heat a little and stir through the onions, then fry for a further 10min or so until the onions are starting to soften and turn translucent. Add the crushed garlic, the allspice, cinnamon, and dried herbs and fry for just another minute or so before adding the carrots, stock and wine.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to as low as possible and simmer, uncovered, for around 1 hour or until the sauce is thick and rich, stirring occasionally. Taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt and black pepper, if necessary, then transfer to a large baking dish and leave to cool completely.
Once the filling is cold, preheat the oven to 200C. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the feta, oregano, garlic and the lemon zest, then sprinkle it evenly over the meat mixture.
Step 3: Unroll a sheet of filo pastry onto the work surface, then cover the rest with a clean damp tea towel to keep it supple. Brush the filo sheet with a little oil, then lay it over the filling, crumpling it in little waves over the surface.
Brush another sheet of filo with oil and lay it over the first sheet, crumpling it as before, then repeat until you have around 5 or 6 layers (placed on top of each other) that completely cover the filling. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes, along with a last drizzle of oil over the top layer.
Step 4: Bake in the oven for around 35–40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and deep golden brown. Serve hot.
Serve with a greek salad, or I like to serve it with a green bean, watercress, pea shoot, spinach, red pepper and tomato salad but that’s just me.