“Маина” (pronounced – “muh-ee-nuh”) is a Jewish celebration meat roulade that’s made with puff pastry and meat. Usually it’s made as one big roulade, then is sliced and served with a hot cup of bullion. I lived nowhere close to Israel as a child, but I do remember Maina being a part of our holiday tables as well.
Just a couple of weeks ago I attended a baby shower and they had it there, that’s when I realized that I have never made it myself. This was something that I just had to fix. My family was definitely glad I did! What could be better then a hot, crispy and flaky pocket filled with juicy meat and noodles? Nothing, I tell ya! we had no soup to go with these, but that’s just because I realized that it’s usually served with soup, only when it came out of the oven. These did not survive the wait and were consumed with ‘mmmm’s and ‘yum!’s in a blink of an eye!
Even though, as I mentioned above they are supposed to be made into one roulade and then sliced, I had only small pieces of puff pastry in the freezer (6×6 inches squares), so I decided to put what I had to use. Now, my opinion is that if they knew how much better the individual hand pies are, they would have never come up with the other version. It’s much easier to hold it this way, as the filling does not fall out and everything is very neatly contained inside the pocket.
Maina can be baked in advance, then heated in the oven right before serving to give the outside that crispiness we all love from puff pastry. Also, you can go crazy with the filling choices because this thing can handle pretty much anything, – meat, vegetables, braised sauerkraut, eggs, well you get it; the name might change, but that does not impact the taste, so you’ve got a win-win situation, no matter which way you do it.
So go ahead, make it for your family. Make them realize just how lucky they are to have you. After all, if they didn’t have you, you would have never seen this, and therefore they might’ve forever missed out on this deliciousness!
- 8 sheets puff pastry (6 inches x 6 inches), thawed
- 1 1/2 lbs beef/chicken thighs (skinless)
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 large, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- salt, to taste
- 100 grams Spaghetti
- 4-5 tblsp olive oil
- Chopped parsley, for soup
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten together
- Fill a pot with 3 quarts of water, place on the stove and turn the heat to high. Wash the meat and put it into the pot. If cooking chicken add the peeled onion and peeled carrot to the pot right away. Bring it to boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low and cook until the meat is fork tender. With a skimmer, skim the water for impurities that float to the top throughout the whole cooking process. Cook until tender (chicken 1 hour, beef 3 hours). For beef, add the carrot and onion after 2 hours of cooking.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain the spaghetti and rinse with cold running water. Set aside.
- Once the meat is fork tender, remove it from the pot into a separate bowl. Let cool.
- Fold the paper towel about 2-3 times and place it over a colander, making sure that the paper towel extends over the colander. Drain the meat broth and reserve for serving with the puff pastry.
- Sautee the onion with the oil, until light golden in color.
- Take the puff pastry out of the freezer, place on a paper towel and allow to thaw.
- Turn the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
- Put the meat through the grinder.
- Add the sautéed onion, minced garlic, black pepper and salt to the ground meat and mix well. If the meat feels very dry, add a couple of tablespoons heavy cream.
- On a paper towel, untangle and align the spaghetti, so that all the strands are even and aligned. Cut them to the length of the puff pastry (two bunches about 6 inches long, then one will be 3 inches long).
- Brush the top of each puff pastry square with the egg wash. Closer to the right edge, place about 8-10 strands of spaghetti (pre-cut to size) and about 3 full tablespoons of the meat filling. With your hands press the filling down. Make one fold from the right, towards left, making a roulade and placing the roulade seem side down.
- Transfer to the baking sheet. With a serrated knife, make diagonal cuts on top of each pie, cutting through about every 1/2 an inch. Repeat with the rest of the pastry dough and filling, placing each hand-pie about 2 inches apart.
- If you want to achieve the “braid” look, without actually braiding the pastry, make the cuts diagonally, alternating between going from top right towards left bottom, and then left top towards right bottom, without the cuts meeting each other.
- If you want to get braid the puff pastry, visually divide the square into 3 equal rectangles, with a knife, make diagonal cuts on the right third of the puff pastry, about 1/3 inch apart, then on the left 1/3 of the square. Put the filling in the middle, press it down to compress. Now take one strand from the right and pull over the filling, then take a strand from the left and pull it towards the right strand and press them together. Repeat in similar fashion with the rest of the strands.
- Brush each hand pie with egg wash.
- Place the sheet with the pies in the oven.
- Bake @ 425F for about 15 minutes or until golden in color.
- Remove from the oven and serve right away.
Serve each pastry with a cup of the meat broth, sprinkling the broth with some fresh chopped parsley. Bake the hand pies in advance and put them in the oven for 5-6 minutes @ 350, right before serving.