Borek with Potatoes (Patatesli Sac Böreği)

To my knowledge, this borek is not known in most of Turkey. This borek is traditionally made with spinach stuffing and cooked on a large convex griddle ('Sac' in Turkish) that is heated by wood. The tradition is that, they cook bread (large thin round bread) every few months and after they are finished, since the ember is ready, they finish off with this kind of boreks. A couple weeks ago, when I was in Turkey, my mom's neighbor had helped someone make bread on sac and afterwards they made these boreks with three different stuffing; with meat, with spinach and with potatoes. Since she assumed that I never eat this kind of good food here in the States (and yes, she's right), she offered to bring me some of the borek. Even though I told here she didn't have to do that, as a very hospitable Turkish person, she insisted on bringing me (most Turks will insist on food and other things :) ) the boreks. I tasted the ones with spinach and potato stuffing and they were exquisite! I still remember the delightful tastes of these boreks.

I made these with wheat flour since it is supposed to be healthier. The potato stuffing is a little different than my mom's neighbor's as I didn't even ask about the ingredients. I guess I was just enjoying the boreks. Next time, I will try it with spinach because still, my favorite is the spinach stuffing.

For the Stuffing:

2 large potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed or cut into small pieces)
½ chopped onion (white or yellow)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp salt

For the Dough:

8 cups wheat flour
1 ½ tsp salt
Small bowl of water

For Drizzling During Cooking:

½ cup olive oil

Preparation of Stuffing:

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add onions and sauté until onions are transparent. Add potatoes, parsley, pepper, paprika and salt. Saute for about 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Dough Preparation:

Place the wheat flour and salt in a large shallow bowl. Keep a bowl of water handy since you will be dipping your hands in the water quite often. Add some water to the flour to start the dough making process. Keep adding water slowly and start kneading. Keep kneading and keep dipping your hands in the water while kneading. Continue kneading until the dough becomes soft. Place in a bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

For Cooking:

Heat a large non-stick pan. Keep the ½ cup olive oil handy in a bowl with a small spoon. Take a piece of dough in the size of your fist and make ball. Add a little olive oil to the ball and with your hand flatten the dough a little.

Keep the dough in your left hand and place a spoonful stuffing inside even though the picture shows it on a plate. I put it on a plate for picturing purposes, but do whatever you find easier.

Close the stuffing with the dough by pulling the dough from each side and joining at the center.

Add a little more olive oil to the ball (this is left to your judgment) and smoothen the ball with your hands.

Drizzle some olive oil in the heated non-stick pan. Place the stuffed ball at the center of the non-stick pan and start pressing with your fingers from the center to the outer side of the ball until you have a large disk of dough with the stuffing inside.

This will allow the stuffing inside the dough ball to be distributed evenly on every side of the dough disk. You will have some tears and broken dough here and there but do not worry that happens when you first try this. By experience it gets better though.

Cook each side until the color turns golden brown.

You may keep turning back and forth until you reach the desired color. Enjoy with Turkish tea as an afternoon snack or with yogurt and any kind of salad for a lunch or dinner.

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