Thursday, February 19, 2009

Better Hot Pockets

I'm still working on cleaning out the pantry, but tonight the challenge extended to the freezer, where I had stashed a flattened roll of filo dough and three links of turkey sausage at some point over the past two months, among other goodies. I also had "less meat" on my mind, since I just talked to three authors today about the trend, and how important it is for your health, your wallet and the planet--not to mention your conscience. So I went to a book that two of those authors wrote for a dinner plan tonight.

Spinach and Chickpea Pouches come from Almost Meatless, a book I first heard about in October. The authors mention Greek spanakopita triangles in their introduction to the recipe, but those cocktail party staples only have three ingredients in common with these tasty pockets. The filling here is much more substantial and consists of meat (the authors suggest eight ounces of ground beef, but I used turkey sausage), red onion, spinach, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, feta, garlic and herbs. Everything except for the cheese gets pre-cooked in a saute pan. Once the filling's ready, you spread out a few sheets of filo, spoon about a half-cup of filling onto the filo and sprinkle a bit of crumbled feta on top. Rolling up the pouches is a little tricky, and my early ones were kind of misshapen. Eventually I figured out that folding one side over the filling and then rolling the whole pouch toward the other side was the best way, so they truly were rolls. One other adaptation: I was out of sesame seeds to sprinkle atop the egg-washed pouches, so I used cumin seeds. Not the same, I know; but they worked.

Alongside some bright green broccoli sauteed in garlic and olive oil, these made a great dinner. Instead of tzatziki, Greek yogurt or sour cream, I stirred a bit of crumbled feta into plain yogurt, seasoned with salt and pepper. It was a nice accompaniment to the piping hot pockets. Three of us couldn't everything--which means each of us ate less than a link of sausage--and still wound up stuffed.--S

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