Thursday, October 22, 2009

sambussas with peach chutney

Way back in August, at the end of watermelon season, I decided I needed a birthday biking supper safari watermelon research victory dance party. If you're gonna party, go big. Let's focus on the supper safari bit: with a handful of loving friends, you roam the town, going from house to house for a different course. If you're really lucky and have the best cohorts you could ask for, it will end with a dessert course chocolate fountain dance party.

But I digress! For the appetizer stop I made a variant of sambussas, Ethiopian lentil turnovers usually deep fried. The lentils are cooked with fragrant spices, and offer a texture and flavor you'd almost swear was meat. I know the photo is unflattering, but it's hard to photo-document when you're busy stuffing your face.

Deep frying sends my epidermis into hiding, so I wrapped the filling in sheets of phyllo and baked them instead, giving the sambussas an incredibly light, crunchy texture. I served these up with an Indian inspired peach chutney, aka mashing peaches in a pot, that complimented the heat and savoriness of the filling far better than I could have anticipated. It's a light and hardy, sweet and savory experience all in one. Bake them ahead of time, then crisp up in the oven for a few minutes before dishing.

The recipe has a couple steps, but be not afraid! Deliciousness can be yours!

Supper Safari Sambussas

Inspired by Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and dinner at Queen Sheba

1 cup brown lentils

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp ground coriander

salt and pepper

1 package phyllo dough (whole wheat, even!)

olive oil

4 yellow peaches

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Juice and zest of one lime

½ c dried cranberries

Make the filling:

Rinse lentils and bring to a boil in 3 cups water. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, or when lentils are tender. Meanwhile, saute onions, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the cooked lentils and season with salt and pepper. The longer this sits, the better it tastes!

Make the sambussas:

Take one sheet phyllo dough and brush with olive oil. Place 2nd sheet of phyllo on top and brush with oil. Cut into squares big enough to make a turnover. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out an efficient shape and wrapping method, and just went free style here with all sorts of odd shapes. I think it makes them look rustic.

Fill with some filling and attempt to wrap. Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and brush with oil. Repeat a whole bunch, then pop in the oven at 350F till they’re toasty and pale brown, maybe 20-30 minutes. The insides are cooked, so there’s a big window of doneness!

Make the chutney:

While the goods are in the oven, peel and chop up some peaches, then throw them in a pot. Over medium heat, mash them up with a potato masher or some forks, add the ginger, lime juice and zest, and cranberries. Stir around till it reaches the consistency of your choosing. When it’s safely cool, serve it all up!

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