A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my Burek in The Chopping Block's private Facebook group with the promise of the complete recipe to come. If you are not familiar with our TCB group, you should really check it out. This group is a community of foodies, home cooks, wine lovers, professional chefs, novices and everyone in-between. What unites us is our love and passion for not only eating food but sharing food knowledge with one another. Whether you have a recipe question or are looking for suggestions on what to make for dinner or clarification on a TCB class you may have attended; all you need to do is ask our community, and we will find the answer. Our Facebook group members post beautiful pictures of their creations as well as interesting articles pertaining to food. I know I am always checking out the page daily for all of the great content! So, if you ever wanted personal attention from a professional chef this is your chance.
One of my favorite parts of our group are the weekly challenges we pose to members. A few weeks ago, our challenge was to make a pie. It could be any kind of pie from double crust and lattice topped (like our Marketing Manager Andrea Miller made), to hand pie, fruit or custard filled. I decided to go in a savory direction and be different from the pack and make Burek. Challenge accepted!
Savory meat pies have their roots in cultures all around the world. Burek in particular is a Serbian delicacy made with a spiced ground meat and potato filling that is wrapped in phyllo dough and shaped into a spiral. There are variations of this recipe found in eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece, and North Africa. Depending on what is available in any particular region of the world, the recipe changes by using different spices, different doughs, different fillings, and even different shapes.
I looked at many traditional recipes online and took what I liked from each to make my own version. I did not have fresh herbs so I used dried and folded in spinach for freshness. I did not have eggs for an egg wash top coating so I used yogurt. My hope when you make this in your kitchen is that you learn the actual process of making this savory meat pie and customize it based on what you have available.
Below I will make good on my promise of delivering the full recipe along with pictures to help you recreate this tasty dish in your home.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
1 box Phyllo dough, thawed
For the filling:
1 pound ground beef (or ground protein of choice)
1 onion, cut into small dice
1 Russet potato, peeled, cut into small dice
2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons oregano
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup spinach, rough chopped
For the Phyllo dough coating:
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons water
Note: Alternatively, you can use 3 eggs or 1/4 cup melted butter for the coating instead of the yogurt mixture.
For the filling:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook ground beef until just cooked through, making sure to break it up into small pieces.
2. Add the onions and potato and cook until potatoes are knife tender. Be careful not to overcook them.
3. Stir in red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant.
4. Mix in the spinach and cook until just wilted.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
6. Turn off heat and transfer the filling to a bowl to cool completely.
For the Phyllo dough coating:
1. Mix the yogurt, oil and water together in a small bowl.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray a pie dish, tart pan, or sheet tray for baking.
2. Lay out 2 sheets of phyllo pastry and brush liberally with the filo pastry coating.
Note: Do not worry if there are small tears or holes.
3. Have the long end of the rectangular sheet of phyllo pastry toward you and scoop a thin line of meat filling along the edge.
4. Carefully roll up the meat filling until you have a long cylinder.
5. Gently fold the roll into itself to form a spiral shape. And place the burek in the center of the prepared baking dish.
Note: If the cylinder and spiral start to tear, add more coating to the outside, this helps with pliability.
6. Repeat step 4 placing the cylinder onto the end of the original spiral in the baking dish.
7. Keep repeating step 4 until the spiral is complete and fills the baking dish or filling runs out.
8. Take the remaining Phyllo dough coating and brush the outside of the spiral.
9. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until evenly browned.
I ended up serving my Burek with a Mediterranean salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and feta. It can be eaten any time of day as a side, main, or snack! To reheat your burek, bake it in the oven at 400° for about 6-8 minutes. You could also make individual spirals or line up the cylinders next to each other and bake for a different look. The possibilities are endless.
Be sure to check out The Chopping Block's private Facebook group for the next cooking challenge. If you do have any questions on how you can customize your savory meat pie, please feel free to comment below or find me on our Facebook group page. I will be on the lookout for all of your savory meat pie pictures and questions!
If you are interested in learning more about different doughs besides phyllo, I am teaching a virtual Naan bread Cook Along class on Friday, July 31 at 6pm CST. Or, check out all of our other virtual class offerings to find your next cooking inspiration.