Tag Archives: turkey

Spicy Turkey Burek

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Spicy Turkey and Filo Burek
Some smells and tastes are so nostalgic that even the mere memory of them create instant longing. Sometimes it’s the taste itself but more often it’s the time of our life that is linked to certain food experiences-happy childhood memories, flashbacks to the dizzying early days of a first love or late night eating with your girlfriends in a college dorm. Life is inevitably connected to food we eat and people we share it with. That’s what makes some things truly unforgettable.

One of the best parts of my childhood were summer travels with my parents to the South of Russia. We often went to the Black Sea for a much needed beach holiday. It was a day and a half travel by train which was surprisingly fun for my brother and I. I really loved Russian trains or “mobile hotel rooms” as Brad calls them with their endless tea drinking ceremonies usually accompanied by adults passionately discussing everything from the history of football to the flaws of the government structure and the children watching the expanse of Russian landscape stretch for hours on end. The highlight of the journey was the moment the food vendors would knock on our door with their cart full of wonderfully smelling food. To our utter disappointment, their food never passed my mom’s standards for health and nutrition but once in a while she’d be out of the compartment and my dad would buy us a burek or a cheburek as it is known in Russia

Spicy Turkey and Filo Burek
Cheburek is a popular street food commonly sold throughout Russia. It’s Crimean Tatar’s national dish that is loved and accepted in Russia as their own. Different incarnations of it exists in parts of Eastern Europe and also in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan and is more commonly known as Burek or Borek. Deep fried pastry filled with spicy minced meat and onions, cheburek is a lovely snack but not the healthiest thing in the world. I am sure you can see my dilemma as I’ve been on a quest to shed a few pounds for a couple of months, burek just didn’t fit into my diet but the need to make it grew stronger every time I passed the Turkish shop on my way to pick up the kids from school. Necessity is the mother of invention they say. Lo and behold, I present to you-Healthy Burek. Spicy minced turkey breast wrapped into delicate filo pastry and baked in the oven. I served it with hummus and fresh veggies for dipping. Although creating guilt-free burek was hugely experimental, the end result was a keeper and equally loved and enjoyed by husband and children alike. Win-win.
Spicy Turkey and Filo Burek with Hummus
Ingredients:

  • Minced Turkey Breast-500 gr
  • Onion-1 medium
  • Cilantro- 1/2 bunch
  • Parsley- 1/2 bunch
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Dry Coriander- 1 tsp.
  • Chili Flakes(optional)-to taste
  • Salt and Pepper- 1 tsp.
  • Filo Pastry sheets- 150 gr.
  • Olive oil or oil spray

Method:

Preheat the oven to 250C/450F.

Chop onions, cilantro and parsley, mince garlic and combine with turkey, add salt and pepper and mix well. It’s very important to make sure your filling is properly spiced or you will end up with something bland and uninteresting, pinch a small amount off and fry it, taste it and add more spices if necessary.

Take one sheet of filo pastry and keep the rest covered with a tea towel to prevent drying out. My filo pastry came from a Turkish shop and was already cut into triangles, if yours is not you can do it yourselves. I prefer the triangle shape because you end up with less pastry to meat ratio and therefore crispier burek.

Put 2 tbsp. of filling on the wide end of the filo sheet and wrap it towards the tip of the triangle tucking the sides in. Place it on the parchment lined baking sheet making sure that the tip of the triangle is on the bottom, then either brush it with a bit of olive oil or use an oil spray. Repeat until the filling is gone- approximately 8-10 bureks.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning them over at a half time point to make sure they crisp up evenly.

Spicy Turkey and Filo BurekSpicy Turkey and Filo Burek
Additional links of this tasty treat are found below. Enjoy!

Russian Pastry Chebureki by Mom’s Dish

Borek or Burek (with spinach and cheese) by To Food with Love

Turkish Sigara Boregi with Minced Meat by Eating Out Loud

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Turkey And Leek Pie

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With American Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching so quickly it seems only prudent to feature a recipe for “what on earth do I do with all the leftover turkey I hate turkey soup” conundrum. Understandable. Who wants to eat the same meal over and over again. Well, I do. I usually like to eat my turkey dinner at least twice after the big meal but then I have to move on. This year I moved on with this pie. I am Canadian we already celebrated Thanksgiving in October-a perfectly placed holiday in the Canadian calendar.

This recipe is easy, tasty and quick even though it has the word “pie” in it. Let me explain how.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil
30 gr. butter
800-1000 gr. leftover turkey meat
50 gr. italian pancetta or bacon
3 leeks (white part only)
3 medium carrots
1 cup/250 ml. leftover gravy
1 tbsp. flour
2 sprigs of each rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
prepared shortcrust pie pastry (Pillsbury in Canada or Jus Rol in the UK)
1 egg (optional)
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F/190 C or 180 C for a fan oven.
My dear friends, you were probably expecting some amazing pie crust recipe that was handed over to me by my mother, and to her by her mother and so on but instead I am advising you to use a prepared one. I hope you are not too disappointed but the truth is that when I have a container full of turkey leftovers in the refrigerator that scream-“Use me, I am literally on my last breath”, the furthest thought from my mind is to run to the kitchen and engage in a long and tedious process of pastry  making. Trust me, the flavour comes from the filling, not from the crust. There is definitely time for making your own special recipe but not a week after Christmas!
So where were we? Yes, oven.
In a deep frying pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and your butter over a medium heat, cook your pancetta with the herbs for about 7-10 min and than add your sliced leek and diced carrots. You can definitely use bacon instead of pancetta if it’s too hard to find or pricey. It’s readily available in England and for a good price, so I prefer it. After your vegetable have been cooking for 10 min and leeks softened add your diced turkey and gravy. If you don’t have enough gravy use chicken stock and thicken it with flour. Cook the mixture for about 10 min until heated through and not too runny. Add more flour if it is!  Taste it and season with salt and pepper.
I really recommend using your leftover gravy because this is where your taste is going to come from. You already spend lots of time building flavour and complexity into it while cooking your Christmas dinner-it’s time to reap the benefits.
Take your filling off the heat and cool it before pouring it into the pastry.
While it’s cooling roll out your pastry or take a little break with a glass of wine!
Line the 9″ deep pie plate with the pastry.
When the meat is cooled enough to handle pour into your lined pie plate with the edges hanging over the sides of the plate. Brush the edges of the pastry with a beaten egg. I used to skip that step and my beautiful pies would come undone in the oven. I like my food to look pretty, so it would frustrate me to no end. The egg is your glue here. Don’t skip this step. I beg you. Pinch your sides of the pie really well and brush the top with the rest of your egg. Also, don’t forget to make pretty slits on your pie to make room for the steam to escape or your pie will explode. Maybe.
As I mentioned earlier, I like my food to look pretty. For the pie you see in the picture I used my turkey cookie cutter on the leftover pastry and cut out a couple of turkeys. Then I appliquéd them on the pie and brushed the whole deal with the egg again.
You know how I begged you not to skip an earlier step? Feel free to skip this one. It’s for food nerds only. Skipping of the last step bares no consequences on the deliciousness of that pie.
Bake your pie for 35 min and serve with whatever you like. In my case it was mashed potatoes and green beans.


PS. This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver similar recipe but was tweaked so many times that I can almost claim it as my own.