Thursday, December 17, 2009

St. Lazarus Corpses

For St. Lazarus Feast day this year we decided to make something that would resemble the wrapped-for-burial body of the saint. We found this recipe for the occasion, sheets of buttered or oiled phyllo, enshrouding cooked, well-spiced ground beef, the oil and spices reminding us of ancient Jewish burial customs:


2-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1-1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes,
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2-1/2 (16 ounce) packages phyllo dough
melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ground beef until it loses its pink color and begins to brown. Drain fat from skillet. Add tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and allspice. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture reduces slightly, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove one phyllo sheet from package and keep the rest covered with a clean cloth until ready to use. On a flat work surface, cut the phyllo sheet into 2 14x9-inch rectangles. Brush the first half-sheet with melted butter, place the 2nd half on top of it and brush again with butter. Place a generous teaspoon of the meat mixture near the narrow end of the dough. Fold dough over the top of the meat, fold in the sides of the dough, and roll into a narrow tube (cigar) shape. Repeat until all the meat has been rolled up. Arrange "deceased" on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

I'm serving these with tzatziki and Moroccan eggplant salad.

Hope this isn't too morbid for you!

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