On a recent trip to the grocery store, without thinking about it, I automatically threw a bunch of kale into my basket. When I got home, I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I had a package of Sweet Italian Sausage Links in the freezer that needed to be used up, as well as a few blocks of Muenster Cheese I had frozen after making my last Baked Macaroni and Cheese, so I decided to incorporate everything into a version of Cheese Bouregs. The problem was when I realized I had no phyllo in the freezer, and the Lebanese Restaurant I usually buy it from was closed, so I had to stop back at the grocery store for a box. Turned out to be the worst - and smallest - phyllo I have worked with in years! Even having let it thaw properly, it was very brittle, and super starchy.
As for the sausages, if you can find bulk sausage at your grocery store, that's great. I just happened to want to use up those links I had in the freezer, so I popped them out of their casings. You have lots of wiggle room with your filling ingredients. It's all about what you like or have on hand to work with.
If you are hesitant to make the triangles, you can go the easy route and lay a few sheets of dough in the pan, butter the top, repeat a few times, then add the filling layer and repeat ... two sheets of dough, butter, repeat, until you get to the top of your pan or run out of dough, buttering the top and slicing into squares. Most people say to use 8 sheets of dough for the bottom, but I tend to go thicker than that. That's how I usually make my Spinach Pie / Spanakopita. Or you can roll it into a log like I did with some of the mix and then slice it once baked. I stacked two sheets, buttered them, then rolled the rest of my filling into them and buttered the top. Just remember to fold the ends over so everything doesn't leak out.
Oil for pan (I used olive)
1 lg onion
2 cloves garlic
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 bunch kale
salt and pepper
3/4 - 1 lb muenster cheese, shredded
1 box (1 lb) phyllo dough
2-4 sticks butter (depends on what size you'll be making), melted
- Wash your kale and chop into bite-sized pieces, removing any large stalks; set aside.
- In a bit of oil, saute the garlic and onion until translucent.
- Add the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks like you would with ground beef.
- When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the kale, stirring to coat; will cook down quite a bit - like spinach.
- Season with a bit of salt and a good amount of black pepper.
- When the sausage is completely cooked through, remove from heat - scoop mixture to one side and tilt pan to drain off any grease.
- I happened to get to this point late one night and refrigerated the mixture to continue the next day, but you can certainly proceed from here - just let the mixture cool down a bit first so you don't cook your eggs - also, because one of my guinea pigs doesn't like the gristly texture of sausage, I gave the mix a whirl in the food processor to break it down more (optional).
- Stir in the shredded cheese and egg.
- Normally, I would make these appetizer-sized, so I would cut my dough into 3 or 4 strips lengthwise (depending on size of dough), stack two sheets, buttering the top, then adding a spoonful of filling and folding into a triangle, buttering the top when done. This time, because the dough was so small, it occurred to me to try a larger, lunch-sized triangle, so I started with one full sheet. Brushed with butter, mounded on a scoop of filling, folded the sheet over, and rolled into a triangle. Because the dough was so uncooperative, I still ended up doubling-up the dough a few times to make sure the filling didn't leak. Then I got annoyed with the dough and decided to finish the rest as a roll - mentioned above. I was also lazy and didn't clarify my butter like I normally would.
- Bake at 350 until golden, 20-30" depending on size/shape.
If you don't plan to eat/serve them all at one time, butter the extras as you would if baking them, then arrange a row on waxed paper, fold the paper over and arrange a row on top of that, etc., wrapping the whole thing in foil and freezing for another time. You can bake them straight out of the freezer; it will just take longer to cook through.
I had a hard time not playing around with throwing in other ingredients, but because the sausage has plenty of flavor on its own, I didn't want to add anything that would fight with that. If you don't plan to clarify your butter, you might want to start with unsalted, or not season the filling with any salt, because the butter and sausage will provide plenty.
Serve with a salad or some sliced veggies fresh out of the garden if you're lucky enough to have one. Even if I had a place to start one at my apartment building, I'm sure the only thing I could manage to grow would be weeds ... maybe some mint, but that's about it. So sad! :(
Very glad I made these, even though the dough was very frustrating.