A delicious filling with ground beef and pork is wrapped in some phyllo in this traditional recipe. This pie is also ideal for a quick lunch.
This Mediterranean minced meat pie is the perfect recipe for a Sunday dinner, not only because it’s so delicious, but because the next day you can take any leftovers to the office for lunch! I usually serve it with a big bowl of green salad but now that I think of it, this orange, lettuce, and mango salad is probably a nice option too. For the meat, I use either all beef, or a mix of beef and pork, and for the dough I use phyllo, but puff pastry is also a great option. If you choose puff pastry, remember not to brush it with oil since it already contains enough fat.
Kimadopita comes from the words “kima” which means “minced meat” and “pita” which means “pie”. Greek pies are usually made with commercial phyllo, homemade phyllo (which is a bit thicker), or puff pastry. And as I’ve said in my 30 minutes leftover chicken pie post, “pie” actually means something flat and round or almost round. So, if pie means pita, and if pita is something flat, then is pita bread the same as flatbread? And is flatbread a pie? In Greek, it probably is! But enough with the confusion, I’m just playing with words! The only thing you should remember is that this is a delicious savory pie!
In Greece, the phyllo-sophy of a pie (see what I did there? :P) is to wrap the filling with a kind of dough so that you can easily take it with you for a quick lunch/snack. So, when my grandpa left early in the morning to go and cultivate his olive groves or his vineyards, my grandma usually gave him a piece of spinach pie or cheese pie, wrapped in a piece of cloth, to take with him as lunch. It was easy to transfer, nutritious, tasty, didn’t require forks and knives, and kept well without spoiling. Unfortunately, this minced meat pie is not something you want to eat by your hands since the filling is moist and a bit tender. I have taken it to the office in my lunch box, but I used a knife and a fork to eat it properly.
Eggplant is not used in the classic kimadopita recipe, so you can omit it if you don’t like it. I add it because I find it pairs really well with the taste of beef and it also adds some more vegetables to the equation.
When working with phyllo, always keep it covered with a damp towel as it dries very quickly.
Don’t worry if some of the phyllo sheets tear or break. It doesn’t matter. Just try the top two sheets to be whole for prettier presentation.
If you want the filling to be more stable you can mix 1-2 beaten eggs when cooled and before filling the pie.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 24 oz (700 grams) ground beef
- 11 oz (300 grams) ground pork
- 1 leek (the white part), chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound (450 grams) Portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium eggplant, grated or finely chopped
- ½ cup white wine (or chicken stock)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tomatoes, grated or finely chopped
- 1 cup grated cheese (gruyere, parmesan, or cheddar)
- 1 package phyllo (about 1 pound / 450 grams)
- About ¼ cups olive oil, for brushing
- 1-2 teaspoons sesame (optional)
- 1 pan with dimensions approximately 14 x 11 inches (35 x2 8 cm)
- Heat over high heat a large pan and add the meat and olive oil. Cook stirring constantly until all the juices evaporate and the meat starts to caramelize.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the leek, onion, mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves, allspice, and eggplant.
- Stir until vegetables are soft, about 3-5 minutes, and add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the liquids are evaporated about 20-30 minutes.
- Let the filling cool, add the cheese and mix to combine.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cover the pan with two phyllo sheets, one next to the other, in a way that they overlap and overhang a little from the sides of the pan.
- Lightly brush them with some olive oil. Keep in mind that the filling already has some oil and fat, so don’t use much.
- Continue with all the phyllo, reserving 4-5 sheets for the top. Remember to lightly brush each layer with oil.
- Fill the pan with the minced meat mixture and fold the overhanging phyllo sheets over the filling.
- Cover the filling with one sheet of phyllo, brush with olive oil and repeat with the rest.
- Fold the edges or tuck them in at the sides of the pan.
- Brush the top with a bit of olive oil and score the surface into squares.
- Sprinkle with sesame and 2 tablespoons water.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown (I bake my pies at the low shelf of the oven, for the bottom to cook better, but that depends on the oven).
- Let the pie rest for 20 minutes before cutting.
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