|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Savory stuffed bread and pastries of various kinds are very popular in Morocco. Here, a cooked ground beef (kefta) and olive filling with zesty Moroccan seasoning are used to stuff soft sandwich rolls before baking them. I'm suggesting that the rolls be made small for a Ramadan iftar or tea time presentation, but shape them larger if you prefer.
The rolls may be served shortly after baking, or plan to make them ahead of time and freeze until needed. Directions for reheating are included in the instructions below.
- For the Filling:
- 1 lb. (or 1/2 kg) ground beef
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper (any color), finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- cayenne or black pepper, to taste
- 1 generous tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 to 2 handfuls pitted green olives, chopped or sliced
- For the Dough:
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 1/2 cups (236 ml) warm milk
- 4 1/2 cups (or 600g) flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, very soft or melted
- vegetable oil, for brushing the tops of the baked rolls
Make the Filling
(May be made a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.)
In a large frying pan or skillet, saute the onion and pepper in the oil over medium heat for several minutes.
Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up any large pieces of meat with your spoon.
Stir in the spices, then thoroughly blend in the tomato paste. Stir in the olives, remove the filling from the heat and set aside to cool.
Make the Dough
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and milk with yeast, and stir the mixture to form a sticky dough barely firm enough for kneading. (Use small additions of flour or milk if necessary to achieve this consistency.)
Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, or in a mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes, until very smooth but still a bit sticky. (The dough will lose its tacky quality after rising.)
Transfer the kneaded dough to an oiled bowl, turning the dough over once to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm, draft free area for an hour or longer, until doubled in bulk.
Shape and Stuff the Rolls
After the dough has risen, turn it out onto your work surface. Divide the dough into smooth 1 1/2" balls.
Take a ball of dough and pat it out into a flat circle (approx. 3" in diameter) which is thinner around the edges and a little thicker to the touch in the middle.
Add a generous tablespoon of filling to the middle of the dough, then gather the edges up around the filling, pinching to seal and fully enclose the dough. Turn the stuffed ball of dough over and gently roll it under your palm against your work surface to smooth its appearance.
Transfer the stuffed dough to an oiled baking sheet (or pan lined with oiled parchment paper) and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
When all of the rolls have been shaped, cover the tray with a towel and leave the stuffed dough to rest for 30 to 60 minutes, until light and puffy.
Bake the Stuffed Rolls
Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C).
Bake the rolls in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until medium golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and, if desired, lightly brush the tops of the hot rolls with vegetable oil or butter. (This is an optional step if a soft crust is desired.) Transfer the rolls to a rack, cover loosely with a towel and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Note: Completely cooled rolls can be frozen and reheated at serving time. Allow the rolls to defrost at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before reheating for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350° F (180° C) oven. Wrapping the rolls in aluminum foil for reheating will help keep the crust soft.