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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Börek with a California Twist

This is the second posting of our 2024 project: The Alphabet Challenge. Hosted by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, I thought this would be a fun culinary adventure. We will be posting every two weeks. I hope you follow along...or join in as you can. This should be fun.

B is for...

Börek with a California Twist

Börek or burek is a family of pastries or pies found in the Balkans, Middle East and Central Asia.

Please note that this isn't a traditional börek. I've added some California flair in the shape of fresh fennel, other fresh herbs, and fennel pollen. I also folded in some barberries to the filling because I love their tangy bite. You can substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries.


serves 4

  • 1 pound ground sheep or lamb

  • 1 organic white onion, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 2 cups)

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (approximately 2 cups)

  • 1 Tablespoon oil

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

  • 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup dried barberries (substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 12 pieces phyllo dough cut in half lengthwise to make 24 sheets approximately 8" x 12"

  • melted butter for rolling


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add in the onion and fennel. Cook until the onion is softened and beginning to turn translucent. Crumble in the ground meat, season with cumin, and cook until browned through. Fold in the herbs, then, turn the meat mixture into a colander and drain out the fat; you want the meat as dry as possible for the börek or the dough will get soggy.

Stir in the feta cheese and barberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.

While you're working with the phyllo, keep them covered with a damp kitchen towel as they dry out very quickly.

Place three sheets of phyllo on a flat surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the lamb mixture on the short side of the rectangle in a strip that's about 2" wide. Brush the edges of the phyllo with melted butter, then fold in the edges and roll as tightly as you can without breaking the dough. Place the börek on a lightly buttered baking sheet.

Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat until the tray is full or the filling gone.

Once all the rolls are ready, place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes. The phyllo should be golden brown and crisp.

Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

That's a wrap for the letter B for our Alphabet Challenge. We'll be back in two weeks with recipes that start with the letter 'C'. Stay tuned!

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