Kefallinian Spicy Meat Pie

Course : Greek
Serves: 12
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1 small leg of lamb boned -- cut into 1 inch pieces, bones reserved
1 medium lemon -- (juice only)
1/4 cup oil or butter
1 medium Onion -- chopped
3 medium potatoes -- parboiled in their jackets, peeled and diced
1 large carrot -- parboiled, diced
3 cups parboiled white rice -- drained
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup feta cheese -- crumbled
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh mint -- chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic -- sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 medium orange or lemon peel cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
16 sheets commercial filo sheets
6 tablespoons butter -- (or more), melted
3 large hard-boiled eggs -- quartered

Preparation / Directions:

On the island of Kefallinia in the Ionion Sea, the Feast Day of Analipseos (Ascension Day) is celebrated with the traditional "kreatopita" (meat-pie). This spicy pie also ushers in the beginning of Lent on the day of Apokreas. In a stock pot, cover the lamb bones with cold water. Simmer, covered for 1 hour. Strain, boil down to 1 cup, and set aside. Sprinkle the lemon juice on the lamb cubes. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy pan, add the onions and lamb, and sauté the meat on all sides until the onions are soft without browning. Pour the onions, lamb, and juices into a large bowl. Add the diced potatoes and carrot, rice, tomato puree, cheese, parsley, mint, oregano, garlic, cinnamon, and fruit peel and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add enough reserved lamb broth for liquid while pie bakes, then mix with a wooden spoon. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12 x 3 inch pan. Spread 8 filo sheets, brushing the melted butter in between the sheets, making sure the pastry fits the sides and bottom of the pan. Pour in the filling, spreading evenly with a spatula. Place the egg quarters here and there across the top and cover with the remaining filo sheets, brushing with butter as before. Flute the edges with two fingers or a fork and brush the top with butter. Using a sharp knife, score the top 3 filo sheets into square or diamond shapes, or prick the homemade pastry with a fork. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes in moderately slow oven (325F), raising the temperature to 350F during the last 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into diamonds or squares and serve warm.

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