Wednesday, May 1, 2013

On the Menu: Maltese Food

Straight to the food!

Yep, that's how I roll :)  I'm having a hard time finding fun activities to do for Malta week, any suggestions would be appreciated!  So we went straight for the cooking section- everyone likes food right? 

Maltese food has been influenced by many of the countries that have ruled it- Italian, French, N. African, but it's major influence is it's LOCATION!  The beautiful clean waters of the Mediterranean Sea give it some beautiful seafood (not to mention beaches). 

The Maltese love octopus and squid cooked into a stew with some fresh "hobza" (crusty bread) to soak up the sauce.  They also make a fresh cheese from goat or sheep milk called "ġbejniet".  I found a recipe and we might try to make it later this week.  I LOVE CHEESE!  But the most "famous" of Maltese foods is the "Pastizzi", a puff pastry shell filled with ricotta cheese or peas.  I will definitely be making these this week also. 

OK, enough teasing you about what I might make, how about what I did make!!  It was called Beef Olives.  Now from that name you might think the recipe would include olives, right?  Nope.  I guess it's called that because you wrap the beef up into little bundles that (maybe) look like olives?  Who knows?  That's what it's called and here is the recipe to make it.....

Beef Olives
For the recipe you will need:
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 smallish onions- diced
  • 5 garlic cloves- crushed
  • 1 16 oz. can tomatoes (w/juice)
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley- chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves- chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 thin pieces of round steak
  • 3/4 lb. of ground beef, veal, or pork
  • 2 garlic cloves- crushed
  • 1/2 cup parsley- chopped
  • 1 T oregano- finely chopped if fresh or 1/2 T dried.
  • 1/2 cup grated ġbejniet (I subbed grated mozzarella)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • Bacon is pictured because the recipe called for 2 slices chopped.  I forgot to add it :) but found it wasn't missed.
1.  To make the sauce, fry the onions and garlic in the oil until softened and then dump the rest of the ingredients and simmer.  Super easy.
2.  To make the beef rolls, pound the heck out of the steaks to make them very thin.  The kids had fun doing this but I'm sure my brother (who works nights, sleeps days) wasn't very happy with the pounding!
3.  Mix the ground meat, garlic, parsley, oregano, cheese, eggs and salt and pepper to make a filling.
4.  Take a piece of the steak and put a small amount of the filling (about a tablespoon).  Roll it up and use toothpicks to keep it closed.  I wanted the filling to really stay in there so I used toothpicks to close the sides too.
5. Put the meat rolls into the sauce and let them simmer for 1 1/2 hours. 

In Malta, this dish would be served in courses.  The first course would be the sauce served over some pasta.  The second course would be the meat.  That sounds like too many dishes to me, so I served it all together on one plate.  We had a fresh salad and some crusty Italian bread to soak up the delicious sauce.  This dish was some work but it looked impressive and tasted really delicious.  The meat was able to be cut with a fork and really picked up the flavors of the sauce.  The sauce was still a little chunky so if you have picky eaters (like my hubby) you might want to puree it a little so they don't see the onions and tomatoes.  It tasted like it was cooked all day!  I even caught my Uncle who was over for dinner using some leftover bread to scoop the sauce out of the pan!  I would make this again- but probably only if I really liked you since it was pretty labor intensive!!  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment