Greek Meat & Potato Pie

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on June 1, 2015

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita, www.goodfoodgourmet.comOne of the things I love most about traveling to other countries is discovering the unique street foods that define the flavors of that country. After a long day of traveling, most people would probably get to their hotel, call in room service and call it a night. But I’m a simple girl at heart and I’m not ashamed to say that it’s the street food, and not the fancy food of each country, that really excites my palette.

Some of the best known street foods of Greece is the souvlaki and the gyro – these types of sandwiches were created to be eaten easily while you are on the go. You often find these types of vendors in very touristy areas where people can pick up quick while enjoying the sights. Other foods like spanakopita or tiropita make delicious vegetarian meals, and these too can be either baked in a large pan or in individual pieces to take with you. Spinach and feta cheese variations are not the only ingredients you will find in these mobile hand pies. You will also find these filo pies filled with things like ground beef known as Kreatopita (pronounced kreh-a-toh-pea-ta) or even a dessert version filled with custard known as Bougatsa (pronounced boo-ga-tsa).

My friend Elpida writes a delicious little blog known as Elpida’s Little Corner. She makes many different variations of these pitas and shares them with us on her Facebook page. Recently she had made a traditional kreatopita and used her own homemade filo. Her pictures drove me crazy, and I knew that I had to make some at home. Elpida makes her own filo too, and although I didn’t do that in this recipe, it is definitely something I would like to try. I have seen how homemade filo is made and have even been lucky enough to enjoy it in spanakopita. It makes for great eating and provides a completely delicious and unique eating experience.

The majority of Americans I speak with describe themselves as meat and potato lovers, so I decided to create a little recipe that went a little beyond the traditional kreatopita to include both meat and some buttered potatoes.

The filling was so delicious and paired so well with the buttered potatoes. It made about 6 small logs — we ate 3 and I froze the rest. If you choose to freeze a few of them also, wrap the unbuttered logs first in plastic wrap and then in foil to prevent freezer burn. When you are ready to bake them, preheat your oven, brush on plenty of olive oil and bake until golden brown all over.

These are perfect for just about anything—pack them to enjoy for lunch or cut them in half to enjoy if you are on the go. They make a great meal on road trips, picnics or cookouts because they can be eaten either warm or cold. Enjoy them as a light fare meal for one with soup or salad or cut them into small bites to share over cocktails. They make a delicious little snack or meal that you won’t soon forget.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, finely diced
4 large heads of garlic, finely chopped or passed thru a press
4 cups of finely diced mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 beef bouillon cube (I usually use Knorr or Maggi)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
¾ cup water
¼ to ½ cup olive oil for filling
S&P (you will probably only need pepper because bouillon cube adds salt)
1 cup shredded parmesan (or Greek cheese like kefalograviera)
1 large russet potato, diced and steamed
¾ stick salted butter
1 box of filo dough, thaw in refrigerator overnight
1 cup olive oil to brush on filo

First, steam one large diced potato and then mash it with your fork. Add the ¾ stick of salted butter and a good pinch of pepper then set this aside.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita,

Finely dice the mushrooms into small pieces and add them to a saute pan with the ¾ cup of water and the bouillon cube. Cook down the mushrooms until the water has completely evaporated and then add the oil, onion and garlic. Cook this until the onions and garlic have wilted and then add the ground beef. Stir this all together, and allow the meat to cook through with all of the other ingredients. I prefer to cook down mushrooms with a little water (first) because mushrooms are porous, and if you use oil, they will absorb a lot of it like a sponge. Cooking mushrooms this way cuts back on using more oil than you need to. Once the meat has cooked through, add the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and then taste this for S&P. Add a little extra if necessary but not too much. Remember you will also be adding some cheese and buttered potatoes. Once the tomato paste has melted into the mixture, toss in the fresh parsley and then remove this from the heat and allow it to cool.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita,

Unroll your filo dough onto your counter top. Count how many sheets you have in the pack, generally there are about 24 or 25 pieces. For each roll I used about 4 sheets of filo dough. When working with filo, you need to work quickly or it will dry out. Portion out 6 little piles of filling to make sure you are using approximately the same amount in each roll. You may want to do the same for the potato, but I usually just estimate about 2 generous tablespoons or so for each one. Brush a generous amount of oil onto the top sheet of filo and then spoon on the meat filling. Top this with the buttered, mashed potato and then top this with some of the grated cheese.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita,

Count 4 sheets of filo in the stack and then fold these 4 sheets over the filling, then fold in the edges. Brush on some more oil on the top and sides to help prevent leaking and then roll the whole thing up into a roll. Place this either on a paper lined baking sheet and brush with more olive oil if you will be baking them right away or place each one on a piece of foil that has been lined with plastic wrap if you plan to freeze them.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling and then place some slits on the top of each roll.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita,

If you are baking them right away, use a preheated 350°F oven and bake them until they are beautifully golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Greek Meat & Potato Pie, Kreatopita,

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar elpida charalampidou June 1, 2015 at 3:11 p

Caterina mou!!!!!Thank you so very mucth!!!!

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet October 14, 2015 at 12:21 p

You are welcome Elpida! GREAT JOB!

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