Today Algeria are playing a match so I picked them for the Foodie World Cup challenge. I've never tried Algerian cuisine before but I have been to both Morocco and Tunisia and sampled many local dishes and, as I suspected, there are many similarities. This recipe for Bourek is very similar to the Moroccan Briouates that I made a while ago.
300g minced beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp ras el hanout (or similar spices)
1 cup raisins
several cheese triangles (Dairylea, Laughing Cow or similar)
1 pack brick/filo pastry
1 egg white (for sealing the filo pastry)
This recipe gave me a chance to use some of the fabulous ras el hanout spice mix that we brought back from a local market in Morocco. You could use a mix of cumin/smoked paprika/curry powder etc instead though.
Now I had a moment of panic when I opened up my pack of fresh filo pastry. It had been sitting on the side in the kitchen for quite some time but was still well within its sell-by date so I was gutted when I ripped open the pack and found that the sheets had all dried out so they were impossible to work with. I tried putting one in the microwave to see if that would soften them - it didn't ! - then google gave me the answer - place each sheet between two damp teatowels for a couple of minutes and they will go slightly soggy and flexible again. Phew, disaster averted !
While I was busy doing battle with the filo pastry, I totally forgot to take a photo of my filling but it was very simple. Just fry up the mince with the onion, garlic and spices then stir in the raisins and cook until the cooking juices have evaporated. Leave to cool.
Cut each piece of filo pastry in half, put a tablespoon full of mince filling in the centre and top with 1/3 of a cheese triangle. Fold over the rest of the pastry sheet to create a sealed triangle shape (or as close as you can get, when the sheets have gone brittle !) and use egg white to seal.
Brush a little egg white over the top, place on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 180° until they've crisped up and gone golden brown.
After all the problems I had getting the filo pastry back into a semi-workable form, I was actually really pleased with how these turned out.
Sophie said that she felt like we were having an end of Ramadan feast because I served these, alongside baked cheese empanadas and pupusas, a selection of salads, some fried risotto balls (coming up in a future post) and some melon slices with Parma ham. The whole table was covered with dishes and everyone took what they fancied. A multicultural tapas-night totally in-keeping with the Foodie World Cup challenge !
I'm joining in with the World Cup recipe challenge over on the Cooking Around The World blog
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