Phyllo Cigars With Pastourma and CheeseNov 25th, 2013 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Charcuturie, Cheese, Featured, Frying, Meze, Phyllo, Recipes
December is coming up and there’s going to be a lot of holiday entertaining, regardless of your faith or beliefs. Here, we do things Greek style and I recently shared these cigars made of phyllo and filled with pastourma and Kasseri cheese.
Pastourma is a cured beef product with its origins in Asia Minor, Caesaria to be specific. Pastourma is made in Turkey, Greece, Balkans, Egypt and the Levant. I even make my own but the best that I have had has been made by Armenians in Greece and in Constantinople.
Pastourma has a distinct aroma, coming from the “tsimeni”, a wet rub encasing the meat made of ground fenugreek, garlic, paprika, allspice and cumin. You can find pastourma at Middle eastern, Greek and Turkish specialty stores.
The other ingredient in these delicious appetizer is Kasseri, a semi-firm yellow cheese that’s mild and great with toast, bread, cheese plate or, as a filling. It’s great that many of these ingredients are much more widely available with many towns and cities being multicultural and people’s tastes have expanded to embrace more ethnic flavours.
These phyllo cigars are best fried, with the time in oil being very brief (just a few minutes). No need to brush your phyllo with butter as these are fried and the crisp golden phyllo coupled with the warm, cheezy filling with pastourma make these irresistible.
Phyllo Cigars With Pastourma and Cheese
(makes approx. 40)
1 package of phyllo pastry, thawed overnight in fridge
3 cups of Bechamel sauce (3 tbsp. flour, butter, 3 cups warm milk, pinch of salt, fresh grated nutmeg)
1 lb. grated Kasseri cheese (about 3 cups)
1/2 lb. of thinly sliced pastourma
Sunflower oil for frying
- Make your Bechamel by adding your butter into a medium sized pot over medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir with whisk for minute or so. Now add the warm milk one ladle at a time…whisking each time until the milk has been absorbed by the flour. Keep adding the milk, whisk in and stir until thick. Take off the heat and add a pinch of salt and some fresh grated nutmeg. Place a plastic film over the Bechamel and allow to cool uncovered.
- Organize your assembly line for the phyllo cigars: cut your pastourma into thin slices and place in a bowl, another bowl with your grated cheese and another with a medium sized deep bowl.
- Take your phyllo pastry out of the fridge and allow it 15 minutes to come to room temperature before using. Take your phyllo out of the package and place it on your work surface so that it lays vertically in front of you. Now cut in half from one of the top corners to the opposite bottom corner diagonally.
- Take a sheet of phyllo and smear a tablespoon of bechamel near the bottom of the phyllo triangle (leave 1 centimeter space from bottom and sides). Now sprinkle cheese over the bechamel then top with pastourma. Fold the bottom flap over the filling then fold the sides over and roll up until there is 3 inches of phyllo left. Now dip this pointed end in water and roll up. Place on a baking tray. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets.
- Add about 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet and bring up to about 365F. Shallow fry your phyllo cigars (turn with tongs when golden) and reserve on a paper lined baking sheet.
- Serve after 5 minutes (the filling will still be warm) or reserve in a warm oven and serve on a platter. Serve with a bowl of strained Greek yogurt for dipping.
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© 2013, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.