Here I sit, less than 24 hours before Shabbos, remembering the wonderful meat cigars we had last week. They were crisp. They were perfectly seasoned. And, best of all, they were lovingly shaped and filled by my almost-twelve-year-old daughters.
Alas, it's not looking too good for us this week. The evening got off to a rocky start with a trip to the pediatrician (for an injury that happened three weeks ago: BAD MOMMY), followed by a long drawn out trip to the pharmacy, and a fit thrown by a not-so-eager-to-get-to-bed child in her terrible twos.
I headed to the kitchen for a cooking therapy session, only to find a broken oven. There went my hopes for rugelach, fruit crisp, and homemade challah.
But at least we have the memories. The fond memories.
And the photos.
Oh. And the recipe.
Moroccan Meat Cigars
makes about two dozen cigars
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced super fine
1 lb. chopped meat
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon allspice
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
salt, to taste
a package of filo dough
about 1/4 cup olive oil, for brushing
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat, till golden. Be sure not to burn it.
Add the meat and cook for a few minutes, stirring, till the meat is browning. Add the spices, water and lemon juice. Cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, till the meat is cooked through and no longer raw.
Uncover the pan and increase the heat a bit. Cook until all the excess liquid is gone, but be sure not to let the meat burn.
Cool the meat slightly and transfer it to a food processor. Pulse for a minute or two, till the meat is chopped fine, but NOT pureed into a paste. You want it to have some texture, but no chunks.
Now, preheat your oven to 350* and start assembling your cigars. Unroll the filo sheets and use a kitchen scissors to cut the stack of filo sheets into three stacks of rectangles. You'll have about 50 rectangles. (My sheets were 13x18; I cut them into 13x6 rectangles.) NOTE: You'll only use about 1/2 the dough. Find another use for the rest.
Lay out one thin filo rectangle and brush it with olive oil. Place about a tablespoon of the filling onto the edge of ONE filo rectangle. Leave at least 1/2 inch around the edges.
Fold in the long sides so they come up over the meat filling just a bit.
Roll the filo - starting with the edge closest to the meat - to make a nice neat cigar.
Brush the tops of the cigars with some more olive oil.
Bake for about 25 minutes, till crispy and lightly browned. Serve fresh, or set aside for a few hours and reheat in a 325* oven for about 10 minutes. (I'm told that these freeze well but haven't tried it myself. 24 cigars was just the right amount for us hungry peeps.)
For a vegetarian version, click here. (Use Google Translate to get the recipe in English!)