Dishing It Up / Meat Pie

A slice of meat pie, a glass of wine and fresh fruit were the typical lunch of a wealthy 17th-century Dutchman, but they work just as well today.

Meat pie

Meat pie on a table, Dan Lev
Photo by Dan Lev, styling by Dalit Russo

A slice of meat pie, a glass of wine and fresh fruit were the typical lunch of a wealthy 17th-century Dutchman, but they work just as well today. Our recipe is a modest tribute to Koets’s lovely painting and to the European tradition of meat pies , adapted to the local palate and to local ingredients. All you need to get started is to buy a grilled chicken, either from the supermarket or a rotisserie shop, and prepared dough.

1 grilled chicken
1 medium onion ‏(or 2 shallots‏), thinly sliced
200 gr. ground beef
1 shot Marsala, sherry or Madeira wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 basket ‏(250 gr.‏) white mushrooms, quartered
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 package ‏(500 gr.‏) prepared dough ‏(short or puff pastry‏)
1 egg yolk
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bone the chicken. Cut three quarters of the meat into one-centimeter cubes and coarsely chop the remainder.

In a medium skillet, fry the onion until translucent. Add the ground beef and saute while stirring until the onion browns slightly. Season with salt and pepper and add the wine. When the liquid has evaporated, add the chicken stock ‏(or water‏). Continue cooking until nearly all the liquids have evaporated. Remove from heat.

In a second skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the leeks over a low flame until they soften. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

In a very large skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the mushrooms for two or three minutes on high heat. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and add the contents of the other two skillets ‏(the ground beef and the leeks‏), and the parsley, to the large skillet with the mushrooms. Stir well, add 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle on 1 tbsp of flour while stirring. If the mixture is too thin add a little more flour and keep stirring until it thickens.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the cubed chicken and correcting the seasoning ‏(salt and pepper‏).

Grease a round ‏(24- or 26-cm‏) springform pan with high sides, or an ordinary round cake pan, lined with greased baking paper. Roll out three quarters of the dough to 1/2-centimeter in thickness. Place in the baking pan, leaving the edges higher than the sides of the pan.

Evenly distribute the coarsely chopped chicken in the pan. Pour the cooled filling on top. Roll out the remaining dough, place it on top of the filling and fold in the edges of the bottom crust. With a fork, prick the top crust to create holes to let the steam escape during baking. Beat the egg yolk with a little water and brush the top of the dough with it, using a brush.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until browned.

On the way to the museum

Plum tomatoes, pumpkin and heirloom eggplants, grilled and glazed with olive oil and herbs, take center stage and create a local still life as beautiful as any Dutch grand master’s. This impressive exhibition of antipasti and an extensive selection of Mediterranean meze of vegetables, cheeses, fish and meat are the most successful parts of the ever-changing menu of the new restaurant in Ein Rafa.

This lovely eatery is located on the ground floor of the home of Michal and Yaakov. Even though the building is new − painted in the shade of blue said to ward off evil spirits − the place features elements traditional to the region, such as a pretty inner courtyard and a fruit orchard. Michal and her crew do the cooking, while Yaakov hosts, makes iron furniture, grows herbs and vegetables and raises sheep for milk − all to supply the restaurant, eventually.

The open kitchen and the changing daily menu are signs of the influence of the Mahaneyuda restaurant on the Jerusalem restaurant scene ‏(which in turn drew inspiration from Habasta, the restaurant in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market‏), but unlike the atmosphere of false cheer and the excessive volume to be found in recent months at the restaurant in the Jerusalem shuk, Majda is an island of peace and tranquility. Its high location provides one of the most beautiful views to be found anywhere in the country.

Majda, Ein Rafa, (02) 579-7108 ‏(open Wed-Sat‏).