Recipe for Lamb Phyllo Rolls


5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion; finely chopped
1 1/2 lb lean lamb, finely ground
2 large ripe tomatoes; peeled, diced
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt; or to taste
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper or to taste
1/4 cup reduced meat stock =or=- robust red; wine
1 1/2 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 cup fresh myzithra cheese; -or- small curd cottage
1/3 cup finely grated feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks
12 phyllo sheets

1 confectioners' sugar
1 ground cinnamon


Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy skillet and saute the onion over low heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat, add the meat, and saute until lightly browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, honey, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the marjoram and parsley, and additional cinnamon, marjoram, and pepper to taste (do not add salt at this point, as the cheese mixture is salty). Set aside, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 375 F. Press the myzithra through a sieve or food mill into a bowl. Combine with the feta, nutmeg, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the egg yolks, cover and set aside.

Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a small saucepan, and melt over very low heat. Brush a heavy baking sheet with some of this mixture. Lay the phyllo sheets one on top of another and cut in half crosswise to make 24 sheets. Tightly rewrap half the sheets and refrigerate. Lay 1 of the remaining sheets on a clean work surface, with a long end facing you, and brush lightly with the butter mixture. Lay a second sheet on top, brush it with the mixture, and repeat with a third sheet. Lay another sheet on top. Divide the meat mixture into 6 portions. Place 1 portion on the bottom third of the top phyllo sheet and shape it into a sausage about 8 inches long. Divide the cheese filling into 6 portions and spread 1 portion over the meat. Fold the bottom edges of the phyllo layers over the filling, then fold over the 2 sides, and roll up to make a firm neat parcel. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling.

Brush the rolls with the remaining butter mixture and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle liberally with the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon, and transfer to a warm platter.

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