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MELITZANOPITA-FROM MEET & EAT

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 700 g eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
• 2 large red peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
• 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 4 – 5 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. sugar
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 225 g. Feta cheese, crumbled
• 1/4 cup grated Kefalotyri cheese
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 450 g phyllo pastry sheets
• 115 g butter melted
• Olive oil for brushing
This recipe will make enough filling to make a 23 x 30 cm pan with enough left over to wrap 30 triangles. If you make triangles with the whole recipe, it will yield about 60 pieces.

Cooking process:
For the Peppers: You can roast the red peppers in the oven or on the grill. You can roast them in a 200 degree oven until the skin is blackened and blistered on all sides. After they cool slightly, peel the skin off and remove the seeds, then dice.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sautée the eggplant with the onions until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the diced red peppers, garlic, and parsley. Continue to cook another 5 minutes then add tomatoes, cumin, and sugar. Sautée the mixture for another 5 minutes or so until the flavors are combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit before adding remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 180˚.
Combine the melted butter with about a 1/2 cup of olive oil. Brush the sides and bottom of the pan with the butter/olive oil mixture.
Add the crumbled feta, eggs, and grated Kefalotyri cheese to the eggplant mixture and stir to combine.
Unwrap the Phyllo: Carefully remove the Phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Using a scissor or sharp knife, cut the sheets in half to make two stacks of sheets. To prevent drying, cover one stack with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.
Lay 10 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the pan making sure to brush each sheet with the butter/olive oil mixture. Take 4 sheets and lay each sheet horizontally with half the sheet hanging outside the pan to be folded in over the filling. Layer half the filling in a single layer. Fold in the sheets to cover the mixture and brush with butter/olive oil.
Add another 10 sheets to the top of the pita, layering and brushing each. Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the top layers of phyllo into pieces making sure not to puncture the filling layer. This will make it much easier to cut when the pita is baked.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the phyllo is a nice golden brown color. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before cutting the pieces all the way through.
Use remaining sheets to make another full pan or fold into phyllo triangles and freeze between sheets of waxed paper. Be sure to brush tops of triangles with melted butter or olive oil before baking.

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