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Jewish Food: The World at Table by Matthew Goodman

This is the easy version of the Syrian meat-filled bulgur dumplings: a layer of spiced meat is spread between two layers of bulgur dough. Sometimes pine nuts or pomegranate seeds are also added to the meat.

Layered Meat And Bulgur Pie


    2½ cups fine bulgur (cracked wheat)
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1/2 pound ground beef

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    1½ pounds ground beef
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
    1 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil for brushing


1. Make the dough; Place the bulgur in a large bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and drain, squeezing out any excess water. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Add the salt, cayenne, cumin, tomato paste, and beef and knead with your hands until the mixture is fully combined. Set aside while preparing the filling.

2. Make the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent. Add the beef and cook, stirring often and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until nearly browned. Add the walnuts, allspice, cinnamon, and salt and pepper and continue cooking until the meat is fully browned. Set aside and let cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.

4. Make the pie: Spread half of the dough in the prepared baking dish, pressing it down gently with your fingers. Spread the filling over the dough, smoothing the top. Carefully spread the remaining dough on top of the filling, pressing it down gently with your fingers.

5. Cut the pie into squares or diamond shapes. Brush the top lightly with the oil. Bake until the top is golden brown and crispy, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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