Beef Pita–Greek Style

Posted in on the 23rd November, 2045

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion — chopped
4 cloves garlic — minced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms — sliced
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/3 cup burgundy or rose wine
1 large egg
8 ounces cream cheese — softened
1 cup creamed cottage cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter — melted
8 ounces phyllo leaves (1/2 package)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
parsley sprigs cherry tomatoes
Combine ground beef, onion and garlic in a large frying-pan; cook, stirring frequently until beef loses pink color. Pour off drippings. Add mushrooms, bay leaf, salt, chili powder, cumin powder, and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and wine; cook, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Cool while preparing cheese filling. Combine egg and cream cheese in medium bowl, beat with electric mixer until smooth. Stir in cottage and feta cheeses and blend. Brush 13 X 9″ baking pan with melted butter. Line pan with 1 sheet of pastry, fitting pastry to contour of pan. (Pastry will come up over edges of pan.) Brush pastry with butter. Layer with 3 more pastry sheets, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over top. Spoon 1/5 of meat filling in layer over crumbs and 1/5 of the cheese filling over meat. Place 1 pastry sheet over cheese filling, crinkling to fit inside dimensions of pan; brush with butter and layer with 1/5 of the meat and 1/5 to the cheese fillings. Repeat with 3 more pastry sheets, crinkling each, brushing with butter and topping with fillings. Turn bottom pastry ends up over filling. Place remaining 8 pastry sheets smoothly over top, brushing each with butter. Using spatula, tuck top pastry sheets around inside edges of pan. With sharp knife, score top lightly in half lengthwise and sixths crosswise. (Do not cut through). Bake in moderate oven (350F degrees) 1 hour or until top is golden brown. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting along scored lines. Place a cherry tomato on each of 12 small wooden picks and insert pick in center of each serving. Garnish with parsley. Garnish individual servings with fresh fruit kabobs, if desired.

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