Friday, July 31, 2015

Turkish Börek- Spinach and Feta Layered Pastry

Image of Serving of Feta & Baby Greens Börek

I lived in Turkey over 3 years, and ate Turkish food weekly, if not daily.  Börek is a popular food item in Turkey, more likely served in homes than restaurants.  It is made with thin layers of dough, similar to phyllo, layered with a filling, such as meat, vegetable, or cheese.  My favorite is spinach and cheese börek, which is very similar to Greek spanakopita.  Incidentally, sigara börek is popular in restaurants.  It is dough that is stuffed, then rolled, similar to a cigar, and fried. 

I did a search, and reviewed some börek recipes from various websites.  The first recipe I reviewed was from Food Network, and sounded nothing like any börek I ever ate!  One of the first ingredients was green bell peppers.  A lot of Turkish dishes call for peppers, but I never had börek with bell peppers.  Anyhoo, I reviewed a few recipes, and came up with this one, below. 


1 cup milk
1 egg
½ stick butter
½ pkg phyllo dough (½ lb, about 20 sheets)
16 oz spinach, thawed and water squeezed out if frozen, sautéed if fresh
16 oz feta cheese
salt and pepper

1- Pre-heat oven to 350°. 
2- Melt butter in metal mixing bowl or saucepan.  Whisk in milk and egg.  Place on warmer pad, or in a hot water bath to keep butter from re-solidifying. 
3- Grease a 9” X 13” pan.  Lay down 2-4 layers of phyllo dough. 
4- Brush 2-3 tablespoons full of milk mixture on phyllo. 

5- Top with about 5 oz of feta. 

6- Place 2-4 layers of phyllo.  You have to be flexible about this.  Sometimes it is impossible to separate layers, and sometimes a layer tears and may start to fall apart, and you need to pull it up with another layer.  Brush with 2-3 tablespoons of milk mixture. 
7- Spoon half of spinach onto dough, scattering evenly.  I used a mixture of fresh baby greens- spinach, kale, and chard. 

8- Repeat with phyllo, milk mixture, feta.  Then repeat phyllo, milk mixture, spinach.  Repeat for feta.  This will make a total of 3 layers of cheese, and 2 layers of spinach. 
9- Finish with final 2-4 layers of phyllo, and brush with milk mixture. 

10- Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Top of börek should be golden. 

11- Remove from oven.  Cool for 15-20 minutes.  Cut into squares.  Serve warm. 
12- Refrigerate leftovers.  Reheat in 350° oven for 10 minutes. 

I only experienced cheese, spinach, and ground beef or lamb börek when I lived in Turkey.  I found a börek recipe that gives ingredients and instructions for börek with feta, spinach, ground beef, potato, leek, or eggplant.  They all sounded good to me. 

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