DD's old boyfriend was vegetarian, so I had to learn a few recipes to please him as well as the others at our holiday table. This one everybody loves!
This recipe for "Macedonian Sweet and Savory Strudel" was requested by several Idylls yesterday. It was a main course vegetarian contribution to our pot luck...and vanished. (There were other offerings such as salad, scalloped potatoes, baked brie with topping, etc...so I'd say it serves about 10-12) I use low fat feta, low fat ricotta, low fat cream cheese. It tastes fine that way in my opinion and is healthier.
So here goes:
3 cups chopped onion
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 1/3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup currants (or more if you like)
2/3 teaspoon black pepper
2 2/3 cups feta cheese (about 10 oz)
2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese
10 2/3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3 (scant) tablespoons unbleached flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 pound filo dough (phylo, phyllo..whatever!) READ package instructions for it being the correct temperature to work with. My brand requires an overnight in the refrigerator)!
1/3 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons caraway seeds..optional (I hate them!)
Saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the grated carrots and cook them for about five minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Mix in the currants and pepper, simmer for another two minutes. Drain any excess juices. (I've never needed to.)
In a LARGE bowl, combine the cheeses, beaten eggs, flour, parsley and dill. Stir the vegetables into the cheese mixture and blend thoroughly.
Set oven to 350F.
Assembling the strudel:
Unfold the stack of filo sheets next to a 9X13 baking pan and keep the melted butter nearby. Work quickly so the filo does not dry out.
With a pastry brush (or small paint brush) butter the baking pan. Place about 6 sheets of filo in one quick motion flat on the bottom of the pan. It's fine if they overlap the edges of the pan!
Spread ALL the filling evenly over the filo sheets. Brush the edges of the filo with butter. Fold them over the filling.
Cover the filling with two sheets of filo and brush with butter. Repeat with three more pairs of filo sheets. Tuck the edges inside the pan. Sprinkle the top with caraway seed if desired.
Bake the strudel for 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow the strudel to "rest" for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
It sounds complicated, but in fact is easy to assemble. Laying out your ingredients in advance helps and it's mainly the peeling and grating of carrots and the chopping of onions that take time...so of course you could do that the night before to make it all even easier.