Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Etli Belis (or Sevgi's Meat Pie)

When it comes to Turkish Food, borek holds a special place. It usually entails a filling consisting of either meat, cheese or vegetables, surrounded by some sort of pastry. It can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can serve as a snack or an entire meal.

Everyone has a borek specialty. For instance, BigMamaPhat (my mother) is good with doughy boreks. I'm good at working with phyllo dough. My second cousin Sevgi Abla brought the borek featured here to a recent family gathering.

The borek's name, according to her, is "Etli Belis" [pron. Et-lee Bell-ish] Literally translated, this would mean "for free with meat."

Or I think I need to brush up on my Turkish. At any rate, let's call this Sevgi's Meat Pie.

Oh my, was it delicious. Yes, oh yes, it was yumtastic. So I cornered her at the party and snagged the recipe from her. She had a hard time explaining how to make it to me, so I decided to take her directions verbatim. Here it goes:

Sevgi's Meat Pie (Etli Belis)

As told by Sevgi

Take 2 eggs, about 3/4 cup of milk and 3.5 sticks of Imperial brand margarine. It has to be Imperial brand. Do NOT use any other type of margarine, or it won't come out the same. I don't know why exactly, but it must be Imperial.

Mix all that together.

Now slowly sprinkle 1.5 cups of flour into that mixture. As you're doing that, mush the mixture up with your fingers until the dough becomes soft. You'll know the dough is done if it feels like your earlobe.

Heat up some oil in a pan and sautee 2 large onions, diced. Add 1 ½ pounds of ground beef and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now, take 1-2 servings of vermicelli rice noodles—you know, they're the really skinny noodles that come in single-serve packs), boil them for about 2-3 minutes (it shouldn’t cook all the way.) Drain noodles and chop them up.

Add the noodles to the onion/ground beef mixture and then let it cool.

Next, cut the flour you made in half. Roll out half the dough with a rolling pin until it’s about ¼-inch thick, give or take. Sprinkle the top with flour, and flip it over into the pan (I think it’s better with a round pan, but square one would work too.) The dough will be larger than the pan and overlap the lip, but don’t worry about it.

**TIP: roll out the dough on a large cutting board, and which will make the flip/transfer to the pan easier.

Roll out the second half of the dough and place it on top of the pie. Crimp the edges and pierce the surface with a fork.

Chop up two tablespoons of margarine and mix it with 1-2 handfuls of flour to make the crumble topping.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the top is golden brown, about 45-60 minutes.

YUM. TAS. TIC., I say!!!

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