Burek is an AWESOME dish from Bosnia and Herzegovina made by rolling lamb meat into layers of filo dough. It is buttery, homey, and, above all, delicious. Plus, the experience of making Burek is so fun that you’ll want to make it over and over again.
I won’t lie to you people. This week’s recipe is a challenge. But it’s the most delicious challenge I’ve ever encountered in my life. Cooking the meat for the Burek is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Saute some garlic, saute some onions, add some meat and seasonings, and leave it to brown. On a scale of 1 to brain surgery, that part is like a –3. Anyone can do it!
The rolling of the Burek is the tricky part, but it’s also the FUN part. And here’s a secret for you… I know you can do it!!
How Do I Roll My Burek?
Okay, so you’re gonna need to start with some frozen filo dough pastry from your grocery store. The sheets are very thin, so you need to be careful when handling them. They will rip easily when you pick them up, so move gently.
Line up three sheets of filo dough short end to short end to make one looooong line of filo dough. Then recreate that process with two more layers of pastry sheets on top of the ones you had just laid out. This will be nine sheets of dough total: three lengthwise and three in height.
Now you’re going to brush some melted butter over the dough. Once you cook, drain, and cool the meat, lay it along the long edge of the buttered pastry sheets. Very carefully, roll the long edge of the sheets over the meat, and keep rolling until one long tube is formed. Then, coil the long tube of dough up into a spiral shape.
I tried as hard as I could to explain that, but if you still can’t figure out what I mean, check out the video posted above for some clarification.
What if My Dough Rips?
Well… I’ll give you some comfort here. There is no question as to if your dough is going to tear… I guarantee you that it will. When the dough rips, don’t worry about it! Just keep rolling as carefully as possible, and by the time you’re done, all of that rolling will cover up the rips with more layers of dough. The dough also melts together when it bakes, so any rips will be fixed once your Burek goes into the oven.
Congrats! The tough part is done and you’ve handled it like a champ. Now all you need to do is brush the top of your coiled pastry with a whisked egg and then sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Pop it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
BOOM. YA DID IT. And I’m so very proud of you.
Eating/Serving Your Burek
You’ll know the Burek is done when the egg wash on the top really starts to brown. Once you remove the Burek from the oven, cut it like you’d cut a pizza or a cake: into triangular slices. It can be eaten plain, or you can serve it with plain, non-flavored yogurt as a dipping sauce!
I can already hear the mmmm’s from here.
Did you like this Burek recipe? Make sure to take a photo of it and share on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #TheForeignFork or tag @TheForeignFork. If you want to try more lamb recipes from The Foreign Fork, also check out this Algerian Sweet Lamb or this Lamb Pilaf (Kabuli Pulao) from Afghanistan! Please leave a comment if you tried making this! It would make my day.
Burek (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- 1 lb Ground lamb
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Chopped garlic
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ⅓ tsp Pepper
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ⅓ tsp Allspice
- 9 sheets of Filo dough, one package will have more than enough. Thawed according to the package instructions
- 4 tbsp Butter, melted
- Sesame seeds
- 1 Egg, whisked
- Plain, non-flavored yogurt, for serving
Cooking the Meat
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the garlic. Cook for about two minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the chopped onion. Cook for about five minutes, until the onions turn translucent.
- Add the lamb into the pan. Use your spatula to break apart the meat, so that it begins to brown in smaller chunks. As the meat begins to brown, add the salt, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Continue cooking until the meat browns all the way through.
- Drain the excess liquid from the browned meat. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to bring the meat to room temperature.
Assembling the Burek
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the meat is cooled, it is time to begin assembling your Burek. Very carefully lay three sheets of filo dough short edge to short edge on the counter. Place the sheets so that they line up in one long sheet. Make sure to overlap the ends slightly.
- Once the first layer of dough is on the counter, repeat the process with two more layers of dough. Place the next 3 sheets directly over each of the first three sheets. Repeat one more time. By the end, your filo dough should be three sheets long and three layers high.
- Melt the butter and use a pastry brush to brush a layer of butter over the top layer of dough.
- Take handfuls of meat, and lay it along the long edge of the buttered pastry sheets. Very carefully roll the long edge of the sheets over the meat, and keep rolling until one long tube is formed. Work carefully, but it is okay if your dough rips. Keep rolling!
- Fold one edge of the long coil in on itself and continue coiling until the long tube of dough ends up in a spiral shape.
- Using your pastry brush again, brush a layer of the whisked egg on the top of your Burek. Then sprinkle the top with a generous layer of sesame seeds.
- Transfer your Burek to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. You will know your Burek is done when the egg wash on the top begins to brown.
- To serve your Burek, cut it the same way you’d cut a pizza or a cake: into triangular slices. You can serve your Burek with plain, non-flavored yogurt as a dipping sauce! Enjoy!
- If you want more clarification on these assembly instructions, watch the Youtube video at the top of this blog post.
- Leave a review/comment on this post telling me about your experience cooking your Burek.