Monday, March 30, 2015

Lihamurekepiiras (Finnish meat loaf in sour-cream pastry)

Very delicious. From the Time-Life recipe booklet accompanying their Cooking of Scandinavia book, by Dale Brown.

2 1/4 c flour
1 t salt
12 T chilled butter, cut into 1/4 inch bits
1 egg
1/2 c sour cream
1 T soft butter

Sift the flour and salt together into a large chilled bowl. Drop the 1/4 inch bits of butter into the bowl. Working quickly, use your fingertips to rub the flour and butter together until they have the appearance of flakes of coarse meal. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg and sour cream and stir into this the flour-butter mixture, working with your fingers until you can gather the dough into a soft, pliable ball. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate 1 hour. Cut the chilled dough in half and roll out each half to rectangles of 6 by 14 inches each, setting aside any scraps.

Butter the bottom of a jelly roll pan with the soft butter. Lift 1 sheet of the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it into the pan, or drape the pastry over the rolling pin, lift it up, and unfold it into the pan.

Meat filling
4 T butter
3/4 c finely chopped mushrooms (about 1/4 lb)
3 lbs finely ground meat (beef, pork, ham, lamb or a combo) or 4 c cooked ground or finely chopped meat
1/3 c finely chopped onions
1/4 c finely chopped parsley
1 c freshly grated cheddar or "Switzerland" cheese (I quote the book. Gruyere?)
1/2 c milk
1 egg combined with 2 T milk

Melt the 4 T of butter  in a 10 to 12 in skillet. When the foam subsides, add the chopped mushrooms and cook them over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes, or until they are lightly colored. If you are using ground raw meat, add it to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 8-10 minutes, or until the meat loses its red color and any accumulated liquid in the pan cooks completely away. Scrape the meat mixture from the skillet (or the mushrooms and already cooked meat) into a large mixing bowl and stir in the chopped onions, parsley, cheese, and milk. Now gather this meat mixture into a ball and place it in the center of the dough in the pan. With your hands, pat the meat into a narrow loaf extending across the center of the dough from one end to the other. Life the second sheet of pastry over the pin and gently drape it on top of the meat loaf; press the edges of the 2 sheets together. Dip a pastry brush into the combined egg and milk mixture and moisten the edges of the dough. Press down on the edges all around the loaf with the back of a fork (the tines will seal the edges securely). Prick the top of the loaf in several places to allow steam to escape.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Gather together into a ball all of the excess scraps of dough an droll it out to a thin rectangle. With a pastry wheel or small, sharp knife, cut this dough into long, narrow strips. Brush the loaf with more of the egg and milk mixture and crisscross the pastry strips over the top of the loaf in an attractive pattern. Now brush the strips with the milk and egg mixture and set the jelly-roll pan in the center of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaf has turned a golden brown. Serve thick slices of the hot meat loaf, accompanied by a bowl of cold sour cream and a side dish of lingonberries.

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