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Turkish Borek with Mashed Potatoes, Ground Beef and Bechamel Sauce

This recipe is a little more ambitious, but a lot of fun to make. I’ve included videos in this blog to demonstrate how to make, roll out and form the dumplings. I initially saw these dumplings being made in a video on Pinterest, but it was in Arabic. I couldn’t understand a word and didn’t even know what the dumplings were called. I posted my questions on a few facebook websites and found the dough ingredient list in broken English on the bottom of the page. I eventually found out that they were called Turkish Boreks and that the dough and fillings vary greatly by region.

The first time I made these the dough turned out great, but the filling was a little bland. So I changed it up a bit and made them again. They were delicious. That being said, you can easily change up the fillings and the spices to your own taste.

Make the dough first and then while it’s rising, make the fillings. The fillings in this recipe are ground beef with onions, mashed potato and béchamel sauce.

For the dough, mix in a large bowl ( or your stand mixer bowl if you have one), 2 cups plus 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. instant yeast, 1 tsp. baking powder and stir. Add in 1 tsp. salt, 4 tbsp. vegetable oil and 2/3 cup of warm milk. I warmed the milk for 40 seconds in the microwave. If you have a meat thermometer check the milk to make sure it is not more than 105 degrees F.

Mix until a dough forms and then either hand knead for 10-12 minutes or knead in your stand mixer with the dough hook for 6 minutes. The dough should become smooth and elastic. It should be tacky to touch, but not stick to your fingers.

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Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl and turn it around in the bowl to grease all sides of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a cold oven with the light turned on until it doubles in size, about 90 minutes. You can check to see if the dough is done by poking your finger into the dough. If the indent fills back in slowly or not at all, the dough is ready.

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Meanwhile, make your fillings.

Finely chop 1/2 onion and cook in a skillet with a little butter. Once translucent, add in the ground beef and cook until brown. Season with chopped flat leaf parsley, Ras El Hanout (optional – but I do sell this spice blend in my online store), salt and pepper.

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Peel and boil two medium sized potatoes until fork tender. Mash with Ras El Hanout (optional), salt, pepper and 1 tbsp. of butter.

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Make the béchamel sauce. Warm the milk in the microwave for 45 seconds. In a small saucepan melt together the butter and oil. Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain. Slowly add in the milk, whisking the mixture smooth in between each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Initially, the mixture will turn into a thick paste that you can brown slightly. It will thin out as more milk is added. Bring to a boil and stir for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

(Note: the videos appear like they are sideways, but they will turn right side up when you click on them)

When your dough is ready, remove it from the cold oven. Punch it down and then let it rest for 5 minutes (this allows the gluten to relax so it doesn’t spring back as much when rolling it out).

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Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to the size of a bread plate. Lightly dust the top of each dough circle with flour. Stack the 6 dough circles and roll out to about 15 inches wide. In the video, I rolled out to 18 inches wide, but I would recommend keeping the dough a little thicker for your first attempt at this recipe.

 

Peel the top layer of dough off of the stack. Brush lightly with a 1/2 oil – 1/2 melted butter mixture. Flip over. Place approx. 1/4 cup of mashed potato in the center of the dough. Top with 1/4 cup of ground beef. Top off with 2 tbsp. of béchamel sauce. Gather the edges of the dough in pleats. Twist like you are closing a bag and pinch closed. Allow the gathered top to fall open over the dumpling. Tuck the edges underneath. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Turkish Borek
Ingredients
For the Dough:
  • 2 cups plus 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk ensure less than 105 degrees F
Potato filling:
  • 2 medium russet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tsp Ral el Hanount Spice Blend (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Meat filling:
  • 1/2 onion chopped fine
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1-2 tsp Ras el Hanout (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Bechamel Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup plus 5 tbsp warm milk
  • nutmeg to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Coating:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
Instructions

Dough:
  1. In a large mixing bowl or your stand mixer bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and instant yeast.

  2. Add in the salt, oil and mix well. 

  3. Heat the milk in the microwave for 40 seconds. Ensure it is not hotter than 105 degrees. Add to the flour mixture and combine to form a dough.

  4. Hand knead for 10-12 minutes or knead in your stand mixer, using the dough hook, for 6 minutes. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic. It should be tacky to touch, but not stick to your fingers.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Turn the dough around in the bowl to grease all the sides of the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and then place in a cold oven with the light on.

  6. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. You can test the dough readiness by poking your finger into it. If the indentation fills back in slowly, or not at all, it's ready. (while the dough is rising you can make your fillings.)

  7. Punch down the dough. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the gluten to relax (this will make it easier to roll out).

  8. Cut the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll out each part into a circle the size of a bread plate. Lightly sprinkle flour on top of each piece.

  9. Stack the 6 circles of dough on top of each other. Roll out into a circle 15 inches wide.

Mashed Potato Filling:
  1. Peel and boil the potatoes until fork tender.

  2. Mash with butter, Ras el Hanout, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meat Filling:
  1. In a large skillet, cook the onions with a little oil until translucent.

  2. Add the ground beef and cook until brown all the way through

  3. Add the parsley, Ras el Hanout, salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.

Bechamel Sauce:
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the flour, oil and butter. Ensure no lumps form.

  2. Slowly add in the warmed milk, a little at a time, whisking out all lumps in between each addition. At first a thick paste will form and you can brown this a little. As you keep whisking in more milk, the paste will thin out.

  3. Bring to a boil and stir for 7-8 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat and mix in nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Assemble the Borek:
  1. Peel the top layer of dough off and place on the counter.

  2. Mix together the oil and butter for the coating. Brush onto the dough circle. Flip it over.

  3. Place 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes into the center of the dough.

  4. Top potatoes with 1/4 cup of ground beef mixture.

  5. Top beef with 2-3 tbsp. béchamel sauce.

  6. Gather the edges of the circle in pleats. Twist together the top like closing a bag and pinch closed.

  7. Allow the top to flop back down over the dumpling. Tuck the edges underneath the dumpling.

  8. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat until all dough used.

  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

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