Ham and wild rice pastries

    1 hour 20 min

    The flavours of smoky, dry-cured Black Forest ham, shiitake and chestnut mushrooms, and courgettes work well with wild rice in the filling for these delicious filo pastries. If you're looking for an interesting lunch dish, this recipe certainly fits the bill and just needs a side salad to serve with it.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 5 sheets filo pastry, 30 x 50 cm (12 x 20 in) each, about 150 g (5½ oz) in total
    • 30 g (1 oz) butter, melted
    • 2 tsp poppy seeds
    • Filling
    • 100 g (3½ oz) mixed basmati and wild rice
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) chicken stock
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 red onion, finely chopped
    • 100 g (3½ oz) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    • 100 g (3½ oz) chestnut mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 small courgettes, diced
    • 140 g (5 oz) Black Forest ham, trimmed of fat and snipped into strips
    • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr20min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5). For the filling, put the rice into a saucepan, pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until the rice is tender.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, mushrooms and courgettes, cover and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Leave to cool while you prepare the pastry.
    3. Lay 4 of the filo pastry sheets out, one on top of the other. (Keep the fifth sheet covered so it doesn't dry out). Trim the stacked filo to make a 30 x 45 cm (12 x 18 in) rectangle. Cut it lengthways in half and then across into 3 to make 15 cm (6 in) squares. You will have 24 squares.
    4. Place 4 of the squares on the work surface and brush very lightly with butter. Place another 4 squares on top at a slight angle and butter them. Repeat the layering to make 4 rough piles, each with 6 buttered squares of pastry.
    5. Add the rice and ham to the mushroom mixture. Stir in the tarragon, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mushroom mixture among the filo stacks, spooning it into the centre. Lift up the pastry edges to contain but not completely enclose the filling – the parcels should still be open at the top. Place on a non-stick baking sheet.
    6. Cut the remaining sheet of filo pastry in half lengthways and then across into thin strips. Brush the strips with the remaining butter, then scrunch them up and place on top of the parcels to cover the filling.
    7. Scatter over the poppy seeds. Bake for 10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Serve hot.

    Some more ideas

    These pastries can be prepared ahead, up to the end of step 7, and kept chilled. Bake just before serving, adding an extra 3–5 minutes to the cooking time. * To make spicy chorizo, rice and olive pastries, cook 100 g (3½ oz) white long-grain rice in a covered pan with 6 shredded dry-packed, sun-dried tomatoes and 250 ml (8½ fl oz) chicken stock for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the stock has been absorbed. Meanwhile, combine 100 g (3½ oz) chopped chorizo sausage, 1 finely chopped red onion and 1 seeded and diced red pepper in a frying pan, cover and cook for 6–8 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the rice mixture, 45 g (1½ oz) sliced black olives, 1 can sweetcorn, about 200 g, drained, 20 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn up, and seasoning to taste. Use to fill the filo pastries. Scatter over 2 tsp sesame seeds and bake as in the main recipe.

    Plus points

    Over 2,500 varieties of mushrooms are grown throughout the world, though not all are edible. They provide useful amounts of many of the B vitamins and only contain 0.5 g fat and 13 kcal in 100 g (3½ oz). * Wild rice is cultivated from the seeds of a North American wild aquatic grass. It contains more protein than ‘true’ varieties of rice. * Ham is a good source of protein and vitamin B. The fat content can be reduced by trimming off any visible fat.

    Each serving provides

    copper * A, B1, B2, B6, C, folate, niacin, potassium, selenium, zinc

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