Thursday, April 28, 2011

Phyllo-Wrapped Ground Beef and Vegetable Pastries

It took me a long time just to figure out what to call this recipe, because my end result was so different from what I had originally set out to cook. I wanted to make Jamie Oliver's Ground Beef Wellington, from his latest cookbook. I had one single potato to use up, some puff pastry and ground beef in the freezer already, so this looked like a great meal to put on the menu for the last week of a long month when I've already spent as much as I want to spend on groceries until my next paycheck.

When I started prepping the ingredients, however, I realized that what I had assumed to be a box of puff pastry in the freezer turned out to be phyllo dough. Not wanting to go out and buy puff pastry, I decided to work with what I had and figure it out. Thank goodness for google and food blogs!

Jamie's recipe has you bake the thing for an hour. After looking up similar sounding recipes using phyllo, I didn't think that I would be able to bake that thin, flaky dough for as long as you would bake puff pastry, but I was afraid that cooking it for less time would not cook the meat thoroughly. So I opted to make mini appetizer-sized phyllo wraps to ensure that the beef cooked all the way through, and I baked them for about 30 minutes. They came out golden brown and flaky and the meat was perfectly cooked inside!

In the end, it just didn't feel right to call them beef wellingtons. Traditional beef wellington is made with a steak like beef tenderloin, covered with a layer of pate and wrapped in puff pastry. My recipe was none of those things, but was delicious!

Phyllo-wrapped Ground Beef and Vegetable Pastries
adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution, and some food blogs (this one and that one)
makes 18-20 appetizers (serves 4-6 as main course)

1 medium onion, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1 potato, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 portabello mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped into small pieces like the other veggies
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stalks and finely chopped
handful frozen peas
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound ground beef
salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 20 sheets Phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
Melted butter or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350F.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, potato, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for a minute or so, then add the rosemary. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables soften and color slightly. Add the peas and cook for another minute.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool completely. Add the ground beef, half the beaten egg, and some salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture. Using your clean hands or a spatula, combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Remove the phyllo sheets from the box and unroll carefully. Keep the stack covered with a moist kitchen towel. Carefully remove one sheet from the pile, recover the stack. Lay the sheet flat on your working surface and brush the edges with the butter or cooking spray. Lay another sheet on top of that one and brush with more butter/cooking spray. Cut the stack in half lengthwise.

Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the edge of each half, leaving about a 1-inch border from the end. Roll it up like a burrito, tucking in the sides as you go. Place on a large baking sheet and cover with a most towel.

Continue rolling up your packets until you either run out of space on your baking sheet, run out of filling, or run out of phyllo sheets. You'll have somewhere between 18-20 little meat/veggies packets.

Brush the tops of the phyllo packets with the rest of the beaten egg. Cut three diagonal slits into each one. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown.

We served ours with steamed rabes (kale, I think? I already forgot) drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.


  1. Wow, that looks really delicious! For some odd reason I am always afraid to work with Phyllo - it just looks too delicate for my clumsy hands!

    Great post - following now :) Thank you!

  2. Thanks Shelby! I was really afraid to work with it too! There were definitely some sheets that tore and some that looked a little funny shaped but luckily that doesn't affect the taste at all!

  3. Such wonderfully delicious looking savory phyllo pastries! My daughter would so love these!

  4. I wish I could eat phyllo. I've tried to make something similar to this in the past, but the pastry (gluten free) was just too thick. Yours look delicious. I know my bf would LOVE me 50% more if I made this for him!

  5. I folded the phyllo 1x and used 2 at one time because it was tearing. It turned out great. I also cooked the ground beef. Again - delicious. My husband loved it!


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