I never thought I would make a potato börek and yet I have and I will make it again as it was quite delicious!
That filling of potato isn’t as stodgy as it sounds, combined as it is with white cheese/beyaz peynir/feta, and freshly chopped parsley. Olive oil and three eggs are beaten into the mixture to make it soft and spreadable. And let’s face it: who doesn’t like potato?
- 2 sheets of yufka or filo pastry equivalent
- 4 small potatoes, boiled
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup olive oil
- 250g/9oz white cheese/beyaz peynir/feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup chopped flatleaf parsley
- black pepper
- 1 tbsp nigella seeds/çörek otu
- Mash the potatoes. Beat the eggs, reserving a little for later, and add to the potatoes, along with the olive oil, cheese and parsley.
- Use a fork to blend the mixture well, and season generously with pepper.
- Lay a piece of greaseproof paper on a flat surface and spread the first sheet of yufka over it. Spoon half the potato filling onto it, spreading it evenly with the back of a spoon, taking care not to tear the yufka.
- Place the second sheet on top and cover with the rest of the filling.
- Trim the sides of the yufka into a square and place the trimmings on top of the filling. Using the greaseproof paper to hold it all together, roll into a neat cylinder, sealing the seam with a touch of beaten egg.
- Wrap the cylinder in the same paper and chill in the fridge for an hour or longer.
- Before baking, use a sharp bread knife to cut the cylinder crosswise into slices two fingers thick, and arrange them cut-side up on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tin.
- Brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg, sprinkle with the nigella seeds
- Bake in the pre-heated oven (180C/350F) for about half an hour or until golden brown
This recipe is a result of reading the cookery section in the latest Cornucopia. If you haven’t seen this issue yet or don’t know this magazine, you absolutely must track it down. It describes itself as ‘Turkey for Connoisseurs’ and this particular issue is a real treasure trove in terms of articles and photography. But actually, it always is.
Potato Börek photo instructions
How many shapes do you have in your börek repertoire?
Check them off: the classic sigara or cigarette; gül or rose, muska or amulet, moving into the larger ones such as kol böreği, the one that coils round itself, not to mention all the others that are baked in the oven.
All variations on a theme that starts with yufka. This is made from wheat flour and water, then rolled out into large circular sheets measuring about 60cm in diameter before being cooked dry. Filo pastry is sometimes quoted as being interchangeable and to a certain extent it is, but be warned: it is much finer and you need to use multiple sheets to achieve a similar effect.
We are lucky here in Turkey as yufka is easily available from specialist shops which make it fresh on a daily basis. Here where I live, I can think of no fewer than five places all within walking distance where I can buy it and this isn’t counting supermarkets.
There’s no doubt about it, Turks love their börek and they are right. Cheap, easy to make, loved by all, they are in a way the equivalent of our quiches and savoury tarts. Fillings are on the whole predictable with white cheese/feta and parsley being the most common, I would say.
In season there is also spinach and leek, with the summer counterpart being grated courgette or, my favourite, aubergine. Also, any ot or fresh seasonal herb can be, and is, made into a börek!