Globally Inspired Flavours

Mediterranean Style Lamb Pockets

I have kept these tasty little pockets simple. They are an easy snack that can be made by pretty much anyone…even if you are hopeless in the kitchen. The phyllo dough is store bought, the mincemeat is store bought so your only issue will be the folding of the dough into triangle pockets. You may however, wish to study up on your origami paper folding techniques before attempting. The idea of this came from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes that mix fruit such as raisins and apricots etc. with lamb. The tastes meld well together and the fruit helps calm the sometimes pungent flavour of lamb. To our pallet it seems like a strange combination but it really is delicious.

An early, thick form of phyllo appears to be of Central Asian Turkic origin.] As early as the 11th century, the Diwan Lughat al-Turk, a dictionary of Turkic dialects by Mahmud Kashgari recorded pleated/folded bread as one meaning of the word yuvgha, which is related to the word yufka. The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets is a later development, probably evolving in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups mincemeat
1 package phyllo dough
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter or margarine

Directions

Turn oven temperature 370f. In a large skillet or in a 5 quart pot cook ground lamb until lightly browned. Drain fat from meat in colander then rinse to remove excess fat with hot water, allow to drain until no more water is visible.  Place lamb into a large bowl adding salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups of mincemeat to lamb and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool. Take phyllo dough from package and open onto work surface. Cut dough into 3 large strips (measure across the top of dough and divide into 3 equal widths then cut into lengths). Place a damp cloth over dough while not using. Divide strips into segments each containing 3 pieces of dough. Set aside, cover with cloth.  Melt butter/margarine in a saucepan or in microwave. Place first strip of phyllo onto work surface and brush with butter. Layer second piece on top then add third layer brushing once again with butter. Place a large tablespoon of lamb mixture at bottom centre of phyllo strip and fold over to the left hand side creating a triangle. Brush once again with butter then fold to the right maintaining triangle shape. Continue to do this until strip of dough is used and you have a triangle pocket. Brush once again with butter and place onto separate baking sheet. Use remaining phyllo dough in same manner until all lamb mixture is used. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Phyllo will burn easily so be sure to keep an eye on your pockets.

FOOTNOTE: These make a great snack and are really pretty fattening. So be sure to try and eat only one at a time. Also MEN seem to LOVE these things. Everyone of them I taste tested this recipe on became my own personal food zombies.

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