Meat and pepper bourekas for Rosh Hashanah
Why make bourekas at home when you can buy them? Because there's no comparison, simply none, to the outcome.
This recipe is from Haaretz's archives.
The word "bourekas" comes from the Turkish word boerek, which is a general term for filled dough that is either baked, cooked or fried. The Turkish boerek is usually prepared from fresh and pliant phyllo dough known as yufka. The Turkish cook buys her yufka together with her other staples; there's no reason in the world to make it at home. Ready-made, it's fresh, very cheap, and there's no greater pleasure than working with it. If you get to Istanbul, notice the stands selling fresh yufka everywhere in the markets. Buy some, for goodness' sake, and bring it home. In Turkey you'll also find ravioli-like turnovers of crisp dough, called manti, that are cooked in water.
But there's nothing like phyllo: In the Sephardic communities in the U.S. and Europe, a wide-ranging culinary tradition has developed around frozen and dry phyllo dough (exactly like that made by Shahaf), in place of the fresh but rare yufka. No other type of dough will give you the same thinness and crispness. By the way, Shahaf tried producing chilled phyllo dough for the wholesale market, and stopped.
Figure on one leaf of phyllo dough for every three bourekas. It's not worth making less than 20, even if you are working alone. Make them and freeze them.
First prepare the filling or fillings, and only then stretch out the strips of dough. The following recipe makes 30 bourekas.
750 g fresh chopped meat
1/2 cup rice
2 lge. onions, peeled and chopped
50 g chopped dill (optional)
1/4 cup oil
lots of ground black pepper
1. Cook the rice in 1 cup of boiling water.
2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and saute the onions. Add the meat and brown while stirring until the meat loses its pink color.
3. Set aside to cool. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, including the cooked rice.
4. Prepare the dough. Lay the phyllo leaves one on top of the other and cut all of them together into three long strips of equal size.
5. Dip the brush into 1 tbsp. oil and brush your work space: a giant cutting board or a plastic tray.
6. Separate the strips and place some of them on the work space.
7. Place two heaped spoonfuls of the filling in the corner of the strip.
8. Fold over the corner with the filling in it, forming a kind of triangle. Cut it along the new non-folded edge that is created.
9. Brush the remaining strip with a little oil, and keep folding and cutting. You will automatically get triangles. If the dough falls apart a little or if a bit extra sticks out of the triangle, tuck it in. It doesn't matter.
10. Repeat steps 7-9 for the rest of the triangles. Everything up to this point can be done ahead of time; the triangles will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.
11. Place the triangles in a lightly oiled oven pan. Mix the egg, the water and the salt and brush the triangles. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
12. Bake in a pre-heated 180 degree Celcius oven for 35-40 minutes until the bourekas are deep golden hue with flecks of black.
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