Borek - Ground Meat and Leek-Filled Pastry Recipe
Borek - Ground Meat and Leek-Filled Pastry
Flavors of Turkey
Total time: 1hr to 2hr
Oven temperature: 180° C (350° F)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time for the pastry: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Average
Chef's Note

Borek is a dish reserved to important occasions. It requires a fair amount of patience and skill, unless you buy ready-made thin pastry sheets from the grocery. In Turkey, a woman who can roll out the pastry with a rolling pin is in demand among her family and friends! The pastry is filled with a mixture of cheese or meat, folded closed in a variety of ways, then baked or fried. In most families, at least five different varieties of borek figure regularly on the menu.

Boreks are named for the filling they contain. There are some made with fried green vegetables and cheese, while others, like this recipe, are filled with ground or finely chopped meat that is seasoned with herbs and spices.

To get the pastry very thin (2.5 mm / 1/10"), you'll need a long thin rolling pin. The process involves rolling the floured pastry around the pin. Since the pastry can be obtained ready-made these days, making boreks no longer requires special skill and now preparing them is quick and easy. Nonetheless, we're giving you the complete recipe. You can decide whether to make the home-made version or the quick version using phyllo or brick pastry.

Ingredients for 6 servings
For the pastry
- 350 g (12 oz.) flour + 1-2 tbsp., depending on the mixture
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. yogurt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tbsp. water
- A pinch of salt
For the filling
- 1 kg (2 1/4 lb.) Leeks
- 1 egg
- 250 g (9 oz.) ground meat
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 2 carrots
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- Salt and pepper

Preparing the pastry and filling 

  1. Combine all the ingredients to form a smooth, fairly firm dough. 
  2. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for at least 30 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, clean and dice the vegetables; sauté in 1 tbsp. butter in a skillet for 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Add the meat and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. When the meat juice has been absorbed, turn off the heat. Season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven. 
  6. Divide the pastry into 6 pieces and form into balls; place each one on a floured surface and flatten 4 balls with a rolling pin to form a circle about the size of a plate and paper thin; combine the other 2 balls into one and flatten into a larger circle. 

Preparing the sauce

  1. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. 
  2. In a bowl, beat together the egg, milk and melted butter.


  1. Place the large sheet of pastry into a deep round baking dish or pie plate.
  2. Spread some of the sauce over the pastry, cover with a second sheet of pastry and add more sauce; spread on half the filling. 
  3. Add the third sheet of pastry, cover with sauce and do the same with the fourth. Cover with the remaining filling. 
  4. Put on the fifth sheet of pastry and brush with an egg yolk lightly beaten with a drop of water. 
  5. Fold the edges of the first sheet over the top and brush with egg yolk. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 180° C. (350° F.) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

In collaboration with the Turkish Embassy, Tourism Office and Cultural Ministry

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