The best part about the Internet is the ease with which you are introduced to new dishes and techniques. Today's recipe is one which I have never eaten outside but was very intrigued o give it a try. It is not the usual easy kind of recipes, but I would not rate it as a difficult one as well. While the recipe is an easy one, the assembling part is the one which needs a little perfection and being my first attempt I was quiet impressed by my effort and the consequences (a badly cut thumb). This recipe has garnered a lot of appreciation for me and I hope it does the same for you.
For the dough
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 tbsp warm milk
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil (or any oil)
2-3 tbsp tomato pasta sauce or any tomato base sauce
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash; vegetarians can use milk)
2-3 tbsp grated cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
For the filling
200 gms minced chicken (vegetarians can use any combination of their favorite veggies cut into fine cubes)
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce (you can substitute it with a mix of dark soy sauce and tomato ketchup)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 sprig fresh parsley chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
For the filling
In a pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and fry till the onions are translucent and the garlic turns golden in color. Add the chicken mince and with the back of the spatula, smooth out the mixture. Add the dry herbs and mix well. Cover and cook till the chicken is tender. Now add the worcestershire sauce, fresh parsley, and the chopped carrots. Add salt as per taste and mix well. Keep covered on medium flame till the carrots are just cooked but not completely out of crunch. Remove from heat and let it cool.
For the dough
Take warm water and milk in a small bowl and add sugar and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir the mixture until yeast is dissolved and water has turned a tan color. Let it stand until foamy. This will take about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt. Then add the yeast mixture little at a time and oil. Knead the dough till it is smooth, not sticky, when squeezed. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for another 5 to 10 minutes. You might need to add a little more flour if it is still quite sticky.
Grease a medium bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, smooth side up. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap or aluminium foil and place in a warm spot (I kept in the microwave) until doubled in size, about 1hour. Remove the wrap and press your fist into the center of the dough to punch it down. Fold the dough back onto itself four or five times and transfer to a clean surface lightly floured. Roll the dough into an oval shape evenly out from the center until it measures about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. Do not press the dough too thin and maintain a uniform thickness. Rolling the dough too thin will result in a break in the middle when you try to lift it once the Stromboli is baked and a too thick base will end up in a thick bread like bottom.
Now spread out the tomato pasta sauce in the middle of the oval base from one end to the other, leaving the sides. With the help of a spoon or butter knife, even out the tomato base. Now put in the filling onto the tomato base carefully spreading it out without touching the sides. You can sprinkle some cheese on top if you like your Stromboli to be more of cheese. Now, with the help of a butter knife, make diagonal straight cuts on the sides from the top to the bottom. Repeat on the other side. Remember to make equal number of cuts on both sides and at equal distance. This will help you achieve the perfect braided look. Now, beat the egg and add some dried parsley to it. With the help of a brush, apply the egg on the cut edges. Now, slowly pick up one strip at a time and close in on the filling in a crisscross manner. Repeat till you are done with all the strips. Be careful not to break the strips from their edges. Apply the egg wash on top and keep it in a warm place again for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius on the toast mode. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or directly grease the tray. I had initially rolled the dough on a baking sheet and had transferred that sheet onto the baking tray to ease the effort of lifting the dough itself. Apply the remaining egg wash again on top and sprinkle some grated cheese from top to bottom. If you are still left with some beaten egg, gently pour it into the filling through the open edges of the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until a golden crust is formed. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the tray for 5 minutes. Serve hot.