In Greek: μελιτζανόπιτα, pronounced meh-leed-zah-NO-peetah
This Greek version of a pot pie is a delicious main dish. It can be served at room temperature, making it a great snack as well. The recipe calls for eggplant (from which it gets its name) ground beef, onion, garlic, wine, tomatoes, rice, and feta cheese.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
- FOR THE FILLING
- 4 1/2 pounds of eggplant
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 pounds of ground beef
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped cherry, grape, or roma tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups of water
- 1 pound of feta cheese, crumbled
- 2/3 cups of converted rice
- FOR THE CRUST
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of thick Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 6 cups + 6 1/2 tablespoons of flour
- a little cornstarch
Make the filling:
Wash and peel the eggplant and cut into cubes. Soak in a pot or bowl covered with cold salted water (1 2/3 teaspoons of sea salt for each quart of water) for 1-2 hours to remove bitterness.
In a pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and ground beef until the beef is lightly browned. Add drained eggplant and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Stir in wine, tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until there’s still a little liquid in the bottom of the pot.
Remove pot from heat and stir in feta cheese and rice.
Make the crust:
Combine all crust ingredients together except the cornstarch. Knead until smooth, sprinkling a little cornstarch on the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. Divide the crust dough into three equal parts and roll out (again, using cornstarch to keep the dough from sticking). One piece of crust should fit in the bottom, and up the sides of the baking pan, with a little more extending out the sides. The other two should be the same size as the baking pan.
Preheat oven to 340°F (170°C).
Put the pie together:
Lightly oil the bottom of 15 1/2 X 10 inch (or equivalent) baking pan, and place the large piece of crust in the pan, patting up the sides with some extending up the sides and out over the edge. Spoon the filling on top, spreading evenly. Lay a second layer of crust on top, and brush with olive oil. Fold in the dough from the bottom layer to enclose the filling. Lay the final layer on top and pull a little if needed to make sure it covers the entire pie, and brush with oil.
Bake at 340°F (170°C) for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, shake the pan gently. If it loosens around the edges, it’s done.
Yield: 16-20 pieces
Tip: Use beef that has been ground only one time. When ground more than once, it tends to stick together and needs longer cooking time to brown – and can be easily overcooked.