Borekas (also known as burek, borek, and a handful of other spellings/ pronunciations) are a Mediterranean hand-held snack made from puff pastry or phyllo wrapped around a filling of cheese and meat or veggies.
This recipe is a mother-in-law original (hi Ma!), and was my husband Andy's contribution to our Mezze dinner party for the February Daring Cooks Challenge. This particular version is just like a hand-held version of spanakopita.
I'm going to let Andy explain why this is more of a method than a precise recipe:
Although my mom is pretty modest, and would never claim this in public, she's actually the BEST COOK IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (Amy comes in a close second.) Every now and then I'll call her up and ask for a recipe for one of my childhood favorites, like these borekas.
Now, as a computer programmer and general mad scientist, I like things to be pretty precise. My mom, however, cooks entirely by look and feel. We always joke about how this makes communicating recipes difficult:
ANDY: So how much filling do you put in each one?
MOM: Oh, you put in a little spoonful...not too little, not too much.
ANDY: Okay, and then how long do you cook them for? How hot should the oven be?
MOM: Well, you put them in for a while, and then you look, and then when they're done, you take them out.
So, in the interest of being as precise as possible, I use exactly 1.5 tablespoons of filling, and bake until the top of the Boreka reaches approximately Pantone 132 PC. Much better.
Have fun playing around with the fillings. This version is Andy's favorite, but I prefer broccoli and feta or potato and cheddar!
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
1 package crumbled feta
Your favorite spices & seasonings. Garlic salt is our favorite.
1 package square puff pastry (we've had the best luck finding these at ethnic markets- latino or mediterranean).
1. Place spinach in a colander in the sink to thaw. As it thaws, squeeze as much moisture out of it as possible, about once every 15 minutes for an hour until very little moisture remains. Combine spinach with feta and seasonings in a medium bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Place a scant spoonful of the spinach feta mixture in the center of a puff pastry sheet, and fold the sheet diagonally in half. If you can't fold it all the way, remove a bit of the filling. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheets and filling.
3. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Place borekas on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.