Moroccan Kefta-Stuffed Rolls

Ingredients

For filling
1 lb. ground beef
1 to 2 tbsp. 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

Preparation

Make the Filling

1. In a large frying pan or skillet, saute the onion and pepper in the oil over medium heat for several minutes.

2. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up any large pieces of meat with your spoon.

3.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

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and set aside.

2. 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.)

3. 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.)

4. 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

1. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto your work surface. Divide the dough into smooth 1 1/2″ balls.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Transfer the stuffed dough to an oiled baking sheet (or pan lined with oiled parchment paper) and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

5. 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

1. Preheat your oven to 425° F (220° C).

2. Bake the rolls in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until medium golden brown.

3. 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.

About Food, Christine Benlafquih

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