I decided when we started #pieseason that this chef would get a whole bunch out of this. I challenged myself to make some pies that I have never seen or heard of before. I wanted to cook out of my comfort zone with flavors I do not use that much and a cuisine that I needed to learn more about. After 30 years of cooking , this is a tough challenge. There is always something you can learn about cooking no matter how long you have done it. I still learn daily and make mistakes from time to time like everyone.
Moroccan cuisine are flavors I love and a cuisine I have only touched upon here and there. My research turned up a few things I could be better at. This pie is one of them. Although this is not my recipe, I have changed it a bit to to make it my own as I always do. I stay true to my motto, “A recipe is just a starting point.” You are also allowed to use the ingredients you like best as well. Stay true to the flavor by using the spices and just add some ground beef, chicken, pork, veggies or whatever suits your palette. I think this is a very versatile recipe, so have fun with it and make it your own, too!
Vegetarian food is not my big thing, but I am trying new recipes that I feel are healthier and are not at a loss for taste.
Preheat the oven to 350°
This recipe is a big twist on a recipe I found on epicurious.com less the meat and addition of dates, pine nuts and adjustments in the seasonings.
1 1/2 cups wild-rice blend, rinsed well ( I got mine at Whole Foods )3 cups water4 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded, chopped and roasted in oven1/2 pound mushrooms, slicedClarified butterSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced2 pinches of cinnamon1 1/2 tsp garam masala1 tsp smoked paprika1 pinch cayenne pepper or more if you like it spicy1/4 cup golden raisins1/4 cup chopped dried apricots1/4 cup chopped dates about the size of the raisins1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley1/2 lb phyllo dough in sheets, thawed if frozen4 large eggs, beaten1/4 cup slivered almonds, slightly toasted1/4 cup pine nuts, slightly toasted
1. Bring the rice and water to boil. When the water is nearly gone cover with lid and switch off the gas. After 5 minutes, fluff the rice.
2. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down on a baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. roast in 400° oven 20-25 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes are getting baked, sauté onions, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown. add the mushrooms, raisins, dates and apricots and cook for about 3 minutes more.
4. Add the cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and garam masala and paprika and cook for additional two minutes.. Remove from the heat. Add 1 Tbsp of parsley and stir in. Set aside until needed.
5. Spray a 9-inch springform cake pan generously with cooking oil spray
6. Divide the phyllo dough sheets in two parts. Layer one portion of the phyllo dough on a work surface, turning each successive one a quarter turn so that the stack forms a large round. brush each layer with the butter , brush the top layer with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the parsley. You will have a stack of about 10-12 layer. Fit the phyllo stack into the prepared spring pan or round cake pan, pressing it into the corners.
7. Gently pack the rice mixture into the cake pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Top the rice mixture with the tomatoes. Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the pie with the chopped almonds and pine nuts and the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. Fold Phyllo edges over the top of the mixture. It will not cover it completely.
8. Bake the pie on the bottom rack of the oven for about 1 hour.
9. Let the rice torte cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the ring and slide the torte onto a large serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.