Ham and wild rice parcels

    1 hour 10 minutes

    The flavours of smoky ham, mushrooms and zucchini work well with wild rice in the filling for these filo pastries. The ideal accompaniment is a simple side salad.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 5 sheets filo pastry, 30×50 cm each (about 150 g)
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
    • 100 g (½ cup) mixed basmati and wild rice
    • 310 ml (1¼ cups) chicken stock
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 red onion, finely chopped
    • About 100 g (1 cup) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    • About 100 g (1 cup) chestnut mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 small zucchini, diced
    • 150 g (1 cup) ham, trimmed of fat and snipped into strips
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (optional)

    Preparation:40min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:1hour10min 

    1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Use a non-stick baking tray. To make the filling, put the rice and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
    2. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion, mushrooms and zucchini, cover and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Leave to cool.
    3. Lay out 4 filo pastry sheets, one on top of the other. (Keep the fifth sheet covered so it doesn't dry out.) Trim the filo stack into a 30×45-cm rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 3 pieces, making 24 15-cm squares (6 squares per sheet of filo).
    4. Lay out 4 squares on a work surface and brush very lightly with butter. Place another 2 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 filling; the parcels should be slightly open at the top. Place on the baking tray.
    6. Cut the remaining sheet of filo pastry in half lengthwise and then across into thin strips. Brush strips with remaining butter, then scrunch them up and place on top of the parcels to cover the filling.
    7. Scatter poppy seeds over the parcels. Bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden brown. Serve hot.

    Try this, too…

    • Cook 100 g (½ cup) white long-grain rice in a covered pan with 6 sliced dry-packed, sun-dried tomatoes and 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
    • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add 100 g chorizo or other spicy smoked sausage, chopped, 1 finely sliced red onion and 1 diced red capsicum; cover and cook for 6–8 minutes or until onion is tender.
    • Stir in the rice mixture with 45 g (¼ cup) sliced black olives, about 200 g (1 cup) tinned sweetcorn kernels, drained and 20 roughly torn fresh basil leaves. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
    • Use to fill filo pastries. Scatter sesame seeds on the top; bake as directed in the main recipe.

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