Torta Tal-Majjal Bil-Qara Ahmar

Gozitan Pork and Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • about 300-350 g (10-12 oz) long-grain rice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) minced pork
  • cloves of garlic, to taste, peeled and chopped
  • 500 g (1 lb) pumpkin, peeled and diced small
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh mint, parsley and marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 glass white or red wine
  • salt, pepper, lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon carob syrup – optional
  • 500 g (1 lb) puff, flaky or shortcrust pastry

Method

Cook the rice in just under twice its volume of water, lightly salted, until barely cooked. Tip into a sieve, and then spread it out on a tray or baking sheet to cool quickly.

Meanwhile, fry the onion in the oil until golden brown, add the pork, and brown it lightly. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin, celery, the herbs, wine, seasoning, and grated zest of a lemon. Add the carob syrup, if using it. A splash of Worcester sauce and a dash of Angostura Bitters, or a teaspoon of honey, might replace it – just some little secret ingredient from your store cupboard.

Partially cover, and simmer until the pork and onions are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Spoon this mixture on to a tray, leave to cool, then refrigerate it until required. (Spooning a warm filling into an uncooked pastry shell will melt the fat in it too soon, and make it soggy.) .

Roll out just over half the pastry, and use it to line a rectangular ovenproof dish, lightly greased and floured first. Mix the rice and pork, and spoon into the pastry case. Remove the bay leaves. Roll out the remaining pastry, and cover the pie, sealing the edges well.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 200°C/ 450°F/gas mark 7, and then for a further 10 to 15 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Serve hot with a green salad.

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