You can have a taste of Turkey without ever leaving your home town!
In honor of our recent trip to Turkey and because of the apparent popularity of my recent recipe post (The BEST Chocolate Chip Scones! https://haskerj.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/the-best-chocolate-chip-scone-recipe/) — I’m posting another of my favorite things to make and eat: Spinach Börek, a Turkish recipe.
This recipe came to me from my sister-in-law, Çağla. This is one of my teenaged son’s very favorite things to eat. He often requests it for his birthday or for other special meals.
1 pkg. filo dough, thawed
Fresh spinach, about 10 oz. — I use the pre-washed organic baby spinach that comes in 10 oz. boxes. If you use fresh, wash it thoroughly and remove the large stems. Tear it into smaller pieces. I have used Swiss Chard with good success, too.
8 oz. feta cheese – I buy the chunk kind. It is less expensive and tastes better.
5 to 8 oz. goat cheese – If you have never eaten goat cheese, please DO try it!
3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or any onion, finely chopped, to taste)
½ t. salt or to taste
¼ t. black pepper or to taste
Brushing liquid: Combine these ingredients, mix/whisk/stir together. Have a brush handy for later
3 eggs, beaten
2 to 3 T. olive oil
¼ c. milk
Cagla says you can use cream cheese, cottage cheese or mozzarella. I never have.
I sprinkle on some Penzey’s Turkish seasoning and/or some dill.
Heat oven to 350. Spray two cookie sheets w/ Pam or use parchment paper.
Clear a large work area. I cover my space w/ waxed paper, using about 4 or 5 long strips placed side by side and overlapped slightly. Most filo packages have two smaller individually wrapped packages inside them. Open one of these packages. Divide the filo into four roughly equal stacks, with about 6 or so sheets in each stack. Use it all. I lay the four stacks on the waxed paper with the one short end of the dough near me and the long side perpendicular to me. Brush each filo dough stack w/ the egg/olive oil/milk mixture. Cover the surface but don’t go crazy. Work kind of quickly because this dough dries out quickly. Open the other little package of dough and divide into four stacks again, placing each one on one of the egg soaked stacks. I push down on each stack to kind of fuse the layers together a bit. You can brush more of the egg mixture on the top if you wish. I don’t always do that, though, if I’m in a rush. So you should have a stack of 6 sheets of dough, egg mixture layer, and six more sheets of dough. You should have four of these. This is your foundation for the next step.
Divide the spinach into four roughly equal parts and cover each filo stack with one part of the spinach. Try to keep the spinach within the edges of the dough, but this is usually a hopeless task. Do the same with the onion, the feta, the goat cheese and the salt and pepper. Sprinkle and crumble away. Add any other seasonings you think need to be in there (dill? Turkish seasoning? It is up to you).
Starting at the shorter end of one stack, begin to roll it up (like a jelly roll, a quilt that has been quilted or an enchilada) brushing the filo dough that appears from the bottom with the egg mixture as you go. Don’t forget to brush it as you, or your rolls will be very dry and not crispy at all. Don’t ask me how I know this. You will end up with a cylindrical roll that hopefully has the spinach and cheese all enclosed inside it. Mine are usually kind of fat. 🙂 You can squish the spinach quite a bit since it cooks down.
Carefully move each roll to the cookie sheets you prepared earlier. If you didn’t do that, either ask for help or go wash your hands since you are covered in goat cheese and other stuff. Bake the rolls at 350 for about 40 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.
We usually cut each roll into 2, 3 or 4 pieces depending on what else we are having with it. You can eat it hot, room temp or even cold (though I never have eaten it cold).
The photo above shows a similar Turkish food. The dough is different and the dish is also cooked differently. The filling of the spinach borek are very much the same, though, as the fillings shown in the photo.
And to end every delicious Turkish meal: a hot glass of Turkish tea!