Monday, September 17, 2007

burekas galore & a recipe (meat burekas)

it is without a doubt that from the name of my blog & my moniker (burekaboy) that i get many internet hits for people searching for information or recipes about burekas, and that i certainly like love them — i know i'm not the only one!

for those "not in the know", burekas are, in essence, filled pastries. they come in all different shapes and sizes with different fillings which change depending on who is making them. what they are called changes from country to country, too.

to whom do they belong originally? who knows ..... many cultures have fillings wrapped in pastry which is either baked or fried in oil. on the jewish side of the story, burekas are more commonly baked items (not fried) and always either dairy OR meat (even fish) based, the two are never mixed because of dietary laws. they are said to derive from spanish empanadas (cf: burekas post) which were carried to other countries, such as turkey and greece, after the expulsion of the jews of spain in 1492. of course, in those countries, various types of similar pastries (turkish boereg/burek/bourek and greek filo pastries like spanokopita & tiropita) were being made by non-jews. these were adopted and called borekas & borekitas (ladino term).

in north african countries such as algeria, tunisia, morocco and libya they are often called boerek (but usually burekas by the jewish communities). those made by the muslim population sometimes incorporate dairy and meat together as they do not have the same food restrictions. boerek also stretches into many other countries where there was a muslim presence such as albania, the former yugoslavia, etc.

for a variety of boerek, all with how-to photos and made with different wrappers, see jamila's great blog about algerian food and her baking endeavours, chasing children & recipes. others can be found in kaouther's (also algerian) blog, culinary delights — however the information is in french.

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jewish style meat burekas

ingredients:

2 - 3 packed cups chopped or shredded brisket or flanken
1 - 2 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 large onion, chopped and fried
several cloves garlic, chopped and fried
chopped parsley, optional
salt, pepper, paprika, garlic/onion powder, cayenne pepper
griven, optional
1 - 2 tbsp margarine
1 egg
matzo meal or bread crumbs, if needed

1 egg for eggwash
sesame seeds

puff pastry or brik pastry or filo

method:

mix meat with mashed potatoes (start with one and gauge if other is needed later) and fried onion and garlic. add spices to taste.

add the margarine and egg and mix well. taste again. add extra mashed potatoes if needed and matzo meal or bread crumbs. the mixture should not be loose.

tasted and re-season. this is very important. if it doesn't taste great now, it won't taste great once baked.

for the dough:

make eggwash with egg or just yolk and 1 tbsp water.

if using puff pastry, roll out and cut squares or circles.

fill each with some of the mixture and paint borders with eggwash. close up the pastry.

paint each pastry with more eggwash and coat with sesame seeds.

bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until nice and golden brown.

if using other types of pastry like spring rolls or brik, see my post for pastel pastries or check out the other links in this post for how-to's.

enjoy!