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Borek with beef, raisins, pistachios and herbs Recipe
Borek with beef, raisins, pistachios and herbs
Fisun Ercan, table champêtre Bika, Québec, Canada
Fisun Ercan, table champêtre Bika, Québec, Canada
Flavors of Turkey
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: approx. 1 hour

Difficulty: Average
Chef's Note

Borek has become so much a part of the Turkish diet that rarely a day goes by without Turks having one of these flaky little pastries. And no there's no right time to enjoy them: they're good for breakfast, as a midday snack, to ward off mid-afternoon hunger, or for supper with plain yogurt and/or a salad. There should be a whole book devoted to boreks.

In my opinion, the best boreks were the ones my mother used to make during the Aegean winter with freshly picked greens. They were so aromatic and flavorful, and promised a special dinner. I miss this ritual every winter. Over time, I've learned to cook with the wild greens found here, and I use them to fill my boreks in the summer. For the moment, I'm offering you a meat version, perfect for snowstorms!

For 13 or 14 böreks

- 1 - 454 g package of phyllo pastry, about 26-28 sheets
- 250 ml / 1 cup organic milk
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 organic egg yolk, for glazing
- Caraway seeds, to taste

- 600 g ground beef, medium lean
- 160 g / 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 65 g / 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and halved
- 30 g / 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp. sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds, freshly ground
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Quebec dune pepper, freshly ground
- 2 Tbsp. raisins or dried blueberries
- 20 g / 1/2 cup fresh parsley , coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.
  2. Lightly oil a large baking sheet; set aside.
  3. Prepare the filling: in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add the pistachios and pinenuts and cook, stirring, for one minute. Using a skimmer, transfer them to a plate. 
  4. In a skillet, sweat the onion. Add the beef and brown for a few minutes, stirring. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking until the beef is completely cooked and the liquid has evaporated. Add the cumin, salt and pepper. 
  5. Add the nuts back into the pan, along with the raisins and parsley, and mix well. Cool completely before filling the phyllo sheets.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the milk and remaining oil. Lay out the phyllo sheets on a work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside.
  7. Once the filling has cooled, make the boreks. For each one, use 2 sheets of phyllo, laid one over the other. Brush the entire surface with the milk/oil mixture. Place 2-3 Tbsp. of filling in a 2.5 cm (1")-wide strip along the long edge of the phyllo. Roll up, enclosing the filling, all the way to the other side. Twist the roll around itself into a snail shape. As you finish, place each borek on the baking sheet, leaving a 2 cm space in between.  
  8. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with a drop of water. Brush each borek with the glaze and sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let the boreks cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
Borek with beef, raisins, pistachios and herbs 1

For those who read in French, offer her "Roots" and dive into the heart of Turkish cuisine for 247 pages of happiness in all simplicity with Chef Fisun Ercan.

Or visit her at Bika Farm & Cuisine in Monteregie, Queb.

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