(Bosnian ground beef meat pie)
Savory fillings baked in a thin pastry dough are popular throughout southeastern Europe, a legacy of the Ottoman Empire. They go by a variety of names — börek, bourek, böreği, bouréki. The Bosnian version, burek, is an easy ground beef meat pie rolled up into a snail-like form.
4 to 6 servings
- Flour -- 2 cups
- Warm water -- 1/2 cup
- Melted butter or olive oil -- 1/4 cup
- Egg, beaten -- 1
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Ground beef -- 1 1/2 pounds
- Onions, minced -- 3
- Eggs, beaten -- 2
- Paprika -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Melted butter or olive oil -- 1/2 cup
- In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the flour, warm water, melted butter or olive oil, egg and salt until it comes together in a doughy mass. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed to bring the ingredients together.
- Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and pliable. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together the ground beef, onions, eggs, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth and set aside.
- Remove the rested dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a large rectangle. Place floured fists underneath the dough and gently pull sections of the dough out to form a very thin rectangle about 2 feet by 3 feet (60 cm x 90 cm). Take care not to tear holes in the dough. If you do, pinch them together. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes or so to dry out a little.
- Brush the pastry dough all over with melted butter or olive oil. Place a row of the meat filling along the longer edge of the rolled out pastry dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Bring the bottom of the pastry up over the meat filling and roll it up into a long sausage-shaped roll.
- Lay one end of the roll onto the middle of a greased baking pan. Carefully wrap the remainder of the pastry roll around itself to form a snail-shaped pie in the middle of the baking pan. Brush the top of the pastry with melted butter or olive oil.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until cooked through and golden-brown. Cut into wedges and serve with a large dollop of good yogurt.
Bosanski Burek Variations
- You can use commercially produced filo dough if you are intimidated by making your own. Use single sheets to make single servings.
- Substitute 1/2 pound ground veal or 1/2 pound grated potatoes for 1/2 pound of the ground beef.
- Sirnica (Cheese burek): Pronounced "SEER-nit-sah." For the filling, use a mixture of feta (1 pound) and ricotta (1/2 pound) cheese, 2 eggs and pepper.
- Zeljanica (Spinach and cheese burek): Pronounced "zel-YAH-nit-sah." For the filling use 2 pounds of frozen spinach, 1/2 pound feta cheese, 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Thaw the spinach and squeeze it dry before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Or try using chopped sorrel in place of some of the spinach.
- A few tablespoons of chopped dill or parsley can add nice flavor to your burek.