14 January 2013

TURKISH BOREK

TURKISH BOREK
Filo, feta, and spinach, a perfect threesome... until you have tried Allegra McEvedy's Anglo-Turkish BOREK (aka böreği, börek, burek) with additional chilies and dill, drizzled with lemon juice, and yogurt on the side. With this wealth of flavour it worked itself immediately to the top of our favourites list. It is delicious, spicy, fast, and most of all leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. In her program Allegra  shows the original dough = Yufka, used in Turkey for this recipe. I have not managed to find it yet so used the suggested Filo alternative instead. A little sceptic how this would work, especially as the pastry sheets I had were from frozen (of course thoroughly defrosted), I used a small pan and half the ingredients, which turned out well in the end as the Borek was smaller and therefore much easier to handle, and I could reverse it by simply using a dinner plate.
Soaking the filo in the milky oil as suggested in the original recipe did not work for me: the filo became very soggy, fell apart and was impossible to handle. So instead I used a pastry brush and brushed the milky-oil on all the layers once they were safely laid inside the pan. This worked perfectly, but I needed almost twice the amount of milky-oil. Will also need to try 'Cigar Borek', where the ingredients are rolled inside the filo into a cigar shape. Also: filled with minced meat... potatoes... there seem to be lots of interesting variations...   :-)

Recipe based on: 'Turkish borek', from 'Turkish Delights with Allegra McEvedy' 
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Serves 2 - just about  ;-) 
100 g fresh (baby) spinach
1 spring onion
handful dill
1 big green chili
100 g Feta cheese
salt
freshly milled black pepper
4 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
125 g filo pastry, in sheets (fresh, or completely defrosted)
lemon slices and Greek yogurt to serve (optional)

Utensils: medium non-stick frying pan

Somehow an egg magically appeared on the ingredients photo... it was not used in the recipe, and should have been milk instead...  :-)
TURKISH BOREK
If using frozen Filo pastry, make sure the sheets are completely defrosted before starting. Thoroughly wash and dry the spinach leaves using a salad spinner until they are completely dry. Lay them out and pat them dry with a paper towel if necessary. Then chop them roughly and put them into a bowl. Wash the spring onion and cut it into rings, including the dark green part. Chop the dill, then add both ingredients to the spinach.
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
Cut the chili in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the seeds (or leave them in if you like it really hot). Cut the chili halves into small stripes, then into very fine cubes and add them to the spinach. Crumble the feta cheese on top. Season with salt (make sure not to use too much though as the Feta is already salty) and freshly milled black pepper and mix well. 
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
Brush the frying pan with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Put the other 1 Tbsp of oil into a small bowl together with the milk, then whisk to combine. Filo is very thin and tends to dry out very quickly, making it impossible to handle as it will just break into tiny bits. Therefore the laying of the sheets and filling need to be done very fast, with the remaining filo sheets covered with a plastic foil and a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out: lay 2 sheets of filo pastry into the pan so that they overlap a bit, leaving the sheets to drape over on the sides. Brush the filo sheets inside the pan with the milky-oil, including the pastry along the inner walls of the pan. This will make sure the dough stays soft and does not break later (do not brush the overhanging dough parts outside the pan as they will soften and fall apart). Tear another filo sheet in half and lay it on top of the existing dough sheets inside the pan. Brush with the milky-oil. Lay the second half on top and brush again. Spoon half the filling on top of the sheets and spread out evenly. 
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
Cover the filling with 3 more filo halves, each brushed with the milky-oil. Add the second part of the filling on top of these pastry layers.
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
Carry on to lay the remaining filo sheets on top of the filling, each sheet torn in half and brushed with milky-oil. At the end, fold the overhanging filo sheets over the top, brushing each layer with the milky-oil until all the pastry is nicely folded on the top. Finish by brushing the top with the remaining milky-oil. With the aid of a large knife or palette knife or the back of a large spoon draw the edges in a little to give the Borek a nice rounded edge. 
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
Fry the Borek in the pan over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned, turning the Borek over half way through with the use of a large plate: place the plate on top, cover and hold tight with a kitchen cloth, then reverse the pan together with the plate so that the raw side of the Borek now sits on the plate. Quickly, to avoid that the Borek gets stuck on the plate, slide the Borek back into the pan with the uncooked side down. 
TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK
It's difficult to judge when the Borek is nicely browned on the bottom so I turned mine over a couple of times; but once the Borek starts to fry it gets a little harder and slides better off the plate. 
TURKISH BOREK
Also make sure to select the heat sufficiently low so that the cheese inside is melted and the spinach cooked before the Borek gets to brown on the outside. Once cooked slice into wedges and serve with a couple of lemon slices and yogurt on the side. 
TURKISH BOREK
TURKISH BOREK


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TURKISH BOREK


TURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREKTURKISH BOREK

Serves 2

100 g fresh (baby) spinach
1 spring onion
handful dill
1 big green chili
100 g Feta cheese
salt
freshly milled black pepper
4 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
125 g filo pastry, in sheets (fresh, or completely defrosted)
lemon slices and Greek yogurt to serve (optional)

Utensils: medium non-stick frying pan


If using frozen Filo pastry, make sure the sheets are completely defrosted before starting. Thoroughly wash and dry the spinach leaves using a salad spinner until they are completely dry. Lay them out and pat them dry with a paper towel if necessary. Then chop them roughly and put them into a bowl. Wash the spring onion and cut it into rings, including the dark green part. Chop the dill, then add both ingredients to the spinach. Cut the chili in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the seeds (or leave them in if you like it really hot). Cut the chili halves into small stripes, then into very fine cubes and add them to the spinach. Crumble the feta cheese on top. Season with salt (make sure not to use too much though as the Feta is already salty) and freshly milled black pepper and mix well. Brush the frying pan with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Put the other 1 Tbsp of oil into a small bowl together with the milk, then whisk to combine. Filo is very thin and tends to dry out very quickly, making it impossible to handle as it will just break into tiny bits. Therefore the laying of the sheets and filling need to be done very fast, with the remaining filo sheets covered with a plastic foil and a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out: lay 2 sheets of filo pastry into the pan so that they overlap a bit, leaving the sheets to drape over on the sides. Brush the filo sheets inside the pan with the milky-oil, including the pastry along the inner walls of the pan. This will make sure the dough stays soft and does not break later (do not brush the overhanging dough parts outside the pan as they will soften and fall apart). Tear another filo sheet in half and lay it on top of the existing dough sheets inside the pan. Brush with the milky-oil. Lay the second half on top and brush again. Spoon half the filling on top of the sheets and spread out evenly. Cover the filling with 3 more filo halves, each brushed with the milky-oil. Add the second part of the filling on top of these pastry layers. Carry on to lay the remaining filo sheets on top of the filling, each sheet torn in half and brushed with milky-oil. At the end, fold the overhanging filo sheets over the top, brushing each layer with the milky-oil until all the pastry is nicely folded on the top. Finish by brushing the top with the remaining milky-oil. With the aid of a large knife or palette knife or the back of a large spoon draw the edges in a little to give the Borek a nice rounded edge. Fry the Borek in the pan over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned, turning the Borek over half way through with the use of a large plate: place the plate on top, cover and hold tight with a kitchen cloth, then reverse the pan together with the plate so that the raw side of the Borek now sits on the plate. Quickly, to avoid that the Borek gets stuck on the plate, slide the Borek back into the pan with the uncooked side down. It's difficult to judge when the Borek is nicely browned on the bottom so I turned mine over a couple of times; but once the Borek starts to fry it gets a little harder and slides better off the plate. Also make sure to select the heat sufficiently low so that the cheese inside is melted and the spinach cooked before the Borek gets to brown on the outside. Once cooked slice into wedges and serve with a couple of lemon slices and yogurt on the side. 
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