There are two ways to make this dish from the Balkans. The simplest is to make mashed potatoes, roll them into a ball, poke a hole with your finger, tuck in the meat filling, and pinch the potato over the filling to close. This technique is messy, however, and the potato coating can fall apart. The version presented here, which adds flour, will give you more consistent results. The pastry is similar to one in Cucina Fbraica for a pitta di ricotta, a ricotta-topped open-faced pizza made with a potato crust. Here the dough is rolled or patted out, circles are cut, and a meat filling is added. Then the dough is folded over and the pastries are deep-fried. Yes, they may be baked, but they are infinitely more tender and the filling more juicy when fried. Although the recipe calls for boiling the potatoes for the dough, I prefer baking them, as the dough will be less moist, making shaping easier.
First, make the dough: If baking the potatoes,
While the potatoes cook, make the filling: Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and parsley and stir well. Cook until meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked bread, if using, and the egg. Let the mixture cool.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough
Pour vegetable oil to a depth of
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.