#2 beef & olive wraps

I pride myself in acknowledging that I run a rather international kitchen.  Our backgrounds, studies, & travels have allowed my husband & me to discover new tastes and appreciate all kinds of different culinary palates!  Living in Europe has definitely broadened our spectrum of groceries from many different cultures.  Just a few steps down from where my husband recently started working, he found a little grocery store with arabic and middle eastern food products.  He was tempted by the dairy products, and whether or not they would resemble our beloved Honduran flavors.  We shall surely be trying them soon!

He ended up bringing home a very thin sort of flatbread.  Because everything on the bag was in arabic writing, we couldn’t begin to imagine what this would be tasting like.  After some research I  discovered that this lightly leavened bread with a very marked sweet note was popularly known as Lebanese flatbread.  I would love to have someone give me more insight on the matter, so feel free to post a comment or send a message!

For the Meat Filling

  • 500g of ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Ottoman spices
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow curry
  • 1 teaspoon of red paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground basil
  • 150g of black olives, halved

In a skillet, add the ground beef and start browning.  Add the spices & condiments and continue to brown the beef.  Halve the olives as the beef browns and add them as you go – eating a couple while you work is allowed!  Keep the heat on an even medium and continue browning the meat until all the juices evaporate.  I add a bit of the olive juice from the jar, just to enhance the olive taste – we are huge olive fans!  Once the beef is starting to crisp up and you get some seared parts, remove it from the heat and place it in a bowl.  It’s important that the beef is dry: juicy beef will only make for soggy wraps.  Set both the bowl of meat filling and the skillet aside (you will be using it to grill the wraps).

For the Wrapping

  • 6 slices of semi-hard Swiss-style cheese
  • 6 flatbread tortillas
  • 1 cup of Turkish yogurt

Lay the flatbread tortilla on a flat surface.  The wrapping bread is entirely of your choice.  I love to recommend new interesting forms of bread, but feel free to implement plain flour tortillas or any other sort!  The Lebanese flatbread I used is a sort between a Middle-Eastern-style pita and an Indian naan, it has sweet notes that work lovely with the salty olive beef.  It also folds magnificently, which is always very important with wraps.  If using store-bought flour tortillas, be sure to microwave them for 5-8 seconds so they become easy to fold.

Place the slice of cheese over the flatbread.  There are a number of different cheeses that I used for this recipe, all from the same family:  Maasdam cheese is a Swiss-style Dutch cheese; Emmental is a yellow, medium-hard Swiss-style cheese; Tilsit is a light yellow, semi-hard Swiss-style cheese; and the well-renowned Edam is a semi-hard cheese that melts just enough to do the job perfectly.

Add the meat mix on top and close the wrap by folding the sides in first and then rolling one of the other two sides until the sealed burrito-looking wrap is set.  Add a bit of butter to the warmed skillet where you cooked the beef mix and place the wrap opening-down onto the heat.  Be sure to keep it there enough to seal the wrap and not so much that the flatbread begins to burn.  A golden sweet smell will begin to invade your kitchen.  Turn the wrap over – careful it doesn’t open!  Brown the other side.

Once they’re all ready, cut them in halves and serve with a side bowl of Turkish yogurt for dipping.  They hold well for a while and are a great to-go meal for the next day!

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