Friday, December 5, 2008

Borek with Ground Beef (Kıymalı Börek)

I made and took this borek for the last day of our Spanish class. Everyone was supposed to bring Mexican or Spanish food for the cultural experience, however I was volunteered into bringing Turkish food. I prepared it late on a Sunday night and the next day I left work early and placed it in the oven while I was getting ready. We took it to class warm, just out of the oven. The smell of it was very tempting. It got a lot of praise. This was my first time making this borek and I will make it again soon, this time for us.

For the Filling:

1 lb ground beef
1 medium white or yellow onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
½ cup parsley (chopped)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp ground black pepper

For the Outer Part of the Borek:

1 package phyllo dough sheets
1 cup yogurt
½ cup olive oil
1 egg

Preparation of Filling:

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the onions and sautee for 3 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and the ground beef. Cook until the beef takes a brownish color stirring constantly. Add the parsley, salt, black pepper and paprika and sautee for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Putting All Ingredients Together:

In a deep bowl, add the yogurt, olive oil and egg. Mix vigorously until all three ingredients are mixed well.

Using a brush, spread a small amount of this newly created mixture in a large Pyrex dish. This is to prevent the Phyllo sheets sticking to the Pyrex dish.

Open the Phyllo dough package. Place a damp cloth on top so that the Phyllo sheets do not dry out. The Phyllo dough sheets can be found in the frozen section of most markets. These are the same dough sheets that are used for baklava.

Place one sheet of the Phyllo dough in the Pyrex dish on top of the yogurt, olive oil and egg mixture spread. Dip your brush in this mixture and brush the Phyllo sheet. Do this one by one until half of the Phyllo sheets are used up. (Some people brush the yogurt-olive oil-egg mixture on every 3-4 Phyllo sheets, but I have found that it turns out better if you do it one by one). After you have layered half of the phyllo dough, spread the meat filling on top of the Phyllo dough. Add another sheet of the phyllo dough and butter it. Continue the process of brushing each Phyllo dough sheet and placing them on top of each other until all the Phyllo sheets are used up. If you have any of the yogurt-olive oil-egg mixture left over, pour it on top and spread it evenly with a brush.

Bake at 350º in the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Let's Have Some Fun!
A couple weeks ago, I was tagged by Pixen. As a result of being tagged, I am supposed to reveal 7 facts about myself and tag 7 other bloggers. I had previously been tagged through e-mails but these things never got my interest, so I have never followed up. I will however follow up with this one. Here we go…7 facts about myself:

1. I never thought I’d ever have so much interest in cooking when I was young. I always thought my mom would be cooking for me for the rest of my life. Although, if I had lived in Turkey, she probably would. My mom’s food would be great but, I am also very pleased with discovering my new hobby.

2. Snakes? Keep them away; I have a snake phobia which developed in the past couple years. I cannot even stand to see a snake on TV. Therefore, I cannot spend any time in forests hiking during the summer, something I really used to enjoy. I am even getting goose bumps right now just as I write these words involving the S…. word!

3. The first and only time I flew to Turkey with a non Turkish Airlines was when I was a student and that airline offered options for a meal. Just out of curiosity, I ordered the “muslim dinner” (whatever that was supposed to mean) and I was so disappointed even though I didn't know what to expect. Not to mention, my food tray came much earlier than everybody else’s! It was weird.

4. I love reading, but I only read non-fiction books. I do not remember the last time I read a fiction book. Maybe I take life too seriously, but I like to learn things when I read. I know that kind of takes the fun out of it... Although, I enjoy learning.

5. I used to work with someone who did not even own a stove because she thinks cooking is a waste of time! (I know this is not a fact about me, but it’s a fact that I knew this person) Does that count?

6. I have written some things in the past with the intention of creating a book, but I lost interest and left it alone. Not sure if I’ll get back to it, but I also found out that I like writing poems.

7. I am more of a listener than a talker. Although if you ask my husband, he’ll probably tell you just the opposite. I have to admit, he may be right sometimes.

Here are the 7 bloggers I am tagging (I won’t be offended if you do not play, but I hope you have some fun):

Get to know Croatia
Mimi Cooks
Organically Cooked
Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

The Rules for Being Tagged:

1. Link to the tagger (my blog) on your blog
2. Reveal 7 facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 other bloggers, list their blogs and let them know they have been tagged
4. Have fun!

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Joie de vivre said...

The Borek does not look very difficult! And it looks sooooo homey. Thanks for the tag!

Reeni said...

I can see why your dish got a lot of praise. It looks delicious with that flakey dough, yum! Thanks for tagging me and sharing those interesting facts about yourself.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

thanks very much for tagging me - i have just added your blog to my list of must-read blogs. i have been eating mediterranean food all my life, and have always been fascinated by how some cuisines are so similar among the neighbouring countries of the mediterranean.

as for your delicious meal today, i can really relate to it: in crete, it would be called κυμά μπουρέκι: kima boureki. in greek, minced meat is called 'kima', and boureki is a commonly used word around greece to mean something made mainly with cheese and phyllo.

here in crete, we make 'boureki' pie, using cheese, potatoes and courgettes. here's a link from my blog:

the mediterranean is an incredibly magical place for food, we muxt be very thankful for the mediterranean sea, which was used as a passageway to spread all this good food from one country to the other

Sandradb said...

Borek looks delicious, as always, and thank you very much for tagging - I hope I'll continue it in decent time. Bye and greetings from Croatia.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Joie de vivre, it sure is simple. One of the great things about it is that you can make it ahead of time and bake it when you want to.

Reeni, thanks. Anything with phyllo dough tastes great.

Mediterranean Kiwi, thanks for adding me to your must-read blogs.

You're right, the region around the Mediterranean Sea, shares a very similar culture and cuisine. We have so many great dishes that are almost the same. This borek also can be made with cheese, spinach and so many other stuffings. I've seen it made by Eastern Europeans and Arabic Countries. I think each country cooks this dish with a little of its own twist. The idea is the same though.

In Turkish minced meat is called 'kiyma' and you're saying in Greek it's called 'kima'. See how close even the names are!

I checked out your potatoe and courgette recipe and it looks great. I don't recall seeing it in Turkey, it looks like it's a specialty of Crete.

Thanks for all the info.

Sandradb, thanks. Great to hear you'll continue the taggig. I know I am always behind lagging in these things. Have fun.

Passionate About Baking said...

What a grand dish...looks abs yummy!!

meeso said...

I've never had this but it looks absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

I had a roommate who used to make this and I loved it! I made your recipe, but the sheets of phyllo stuck together when cooked and it wasn't light and flakey like it should be. Do you have any suggestions?

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for making my recipe. Yogurt or milk is used to soften the phyllo sheets slightly. The yogurt and eggs cause it to stick together, but they should stick reasonably, meaning the flakiness still should be there. You may want to reduce the amount of olive oil, yogurt and egg mixture brushed on each sheet. Any left over will be poured on top of the borek when all the phyllo sheets are used up. If you lightly brush each phyllo sheet with this mixture, that shouldn’t allow them to stick together too much.

If that is not what you want, I would use only olive oil to brush each phyllo sheet, instead of the olive oil, yogurt and egg mixture. Don’t forget to brush it up with an egg yolk to give it the golden color on top of the borek.

Also, I am wondering what kind of phyllo sheets you used; sometimes they can give you different results. This weekend I made baklava using a different brand of Phyllo sheets which were thicker and not as good, so my baklava didn't turn out as good as it usually does.

Let me know please about your results if you try the recipe again. I hope you do!

Selba said...

So interesting to learn about you :)

thenomadGourmand said...

hello! got ur link frm Selba's blog! so happy to see ur blog, now i get to learn more abt Turkish food, wat a bonus too, that u share recipes!
I had Turkish once -
..wonder if u could verify that it was authentic?

Tara said...

I made this for my family last week and it was wonderful! Even my 11 month old loved it. Thanks!

Ayesha Manan said...

This sounds sooo yummy, I wanna make it when my husband and daughter comes home tomorrow. Much thanks for sharing this. Live the recipe as it's easy and seems delicious I have yufka sheets (pastry leaves) would like to try it, will let know