Sheftalia

Mince Meat Parcels

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

These are incredible. They are sold all over Cyprus, ready barbecued and smelling wonderful, and can be tucked into pitta bread or eaten alone with a salad or tzatziki and some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. It may seem daunting to attempt this task of wrapping caul fat around the meat, but it really is quite simple. It gives a softness and wonderful flavour to the meat and holds it all together well as a wrapper. These can be cooked in a hot oven or under the grill (broiler) as well as on the barbecue. You may have to order the caul fat from your butcher (pork is best). You can easily adjust these quantities and make some to freeze (before cooking).

Ingredients

  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 300 g (10½ oz) caul fat (available from good butchers)
  • 2 red onions, one sliced and one finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 kg (2 lb 11 oz) minced (ground) pork and beef
  • 30 g (1 cup) chopped flat-leaf (italian) parsley

To Serve

  • at least 12 pitta breads
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain greek yoghurt or tzatziki
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • lemon wedges

Method

Run a bowl of warm water and add the lemon juice. Soak the layers of caul fat for about 30 minutes (hot water will break it and cold water make it stiffen). Using a pair of scissors, cut the caul fat into 10 cm (4 inch) squares (they don’t all have to be exactly the same).

Meanwhile, put the sliced onion in a small bowl, cover with cold water and sprinkle with the salt. Leave to soak for 20 minutes or so. Rinse and drain well in a fine sieve and then put the onion in a serving bowl.

Prepare the mince mixture in another bowl. Mix together the meat, parsley and chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper and then knead well with your hands. Form into small ovals, about the size of eggs.

Place a mince oval onto the centre of each square of caul fat, wrap over from one side, then fold in the edges and roll over on the other side to make a parcel. The caul fat will hold the mixture. Thread onto flat metal skewers (double skewers are a good idea for turning).

Preheat a barbecue or chargrill (griddle) pan to medium hot and barbecue the sheftalia until they are deep golden on all sides, soft inside and completely cooked through. Arrange them on a serving platter and serve with warmed pitta bread and separate bowls of tzatziki, diced tomato, the sliced onion and some lemon wedges.