Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In case I haven't told you about it already, this is the delicious dish my mom and I have made for Thanksgiving every year for the last 5 years or so. I am SO looking forward to it!

Cheese, Rice and Vegetable Strudel
Based on a traditional Russian dish called "Koulibiac", this makes a perfect vegetarian main course.

Serves 8

7/8 cup long grain rice
2 tbsp butter
1-2 leeks thinly sliced
8 oz Gruyère (or cheddar) cheese, grated
8 oz feta cheese, cubed
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds or hazelnuts, toasted
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
10 oz package frozen filo pastry, thawed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook the rice in boiling, salted water for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse under cold running water and set aside. Melt the butter and cook the leeks and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Add the well-drained rice, the cheeses, raisins, toasted nuts, parsley and season to taste (be careful with the salt as the feta cheese is very salty).

3. Preheat the oven to 375F. Unwrap the filo pastry. Cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and a damp clot while you work. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a large piece of wax paper and brush it with oil. Lay a second sheet, overlapping the first by 1 in. Put another sheet with its long side running at right angles to the long sides ofthe first two. Lay a fourth sheet in the same way overlapping by 1 in. Continue in this way, alternating the layers of the two sheets so that the join between the two sheets runs in the opposite direction for each layer.

4. Place the filling along the center of the pastry and shape it neatly with your hands into a rectangle approximately 4 x 12 in

5. Fold the pastry over the filing and roll it over, with the help of the wax paper, so that the join is hidden underneath.

6. Lift the strudel on to a greased baking sheet and tuck the edges under, so that the filing does not escape during cooking. Brush with oil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and crisp. Let the strudel stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

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