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Rating: 4.4 stars
10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

Get your hands on the right ingredients, including about 12 good sheets of phyllo pastry, and you'll find this savory, lamb-filled pastry way easier to make than it appears--not to mention delicious--all thanks to an intentionally soggy dough. That's right! Lightly moisturizing the phyllo with an egg/yogurt/butter wash produces flexible, flavorful, and externally crisp layers upon baking.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
1 hr 5 mins
additional:
15 mins
total:
2 hrs 5 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
1 9-inch pie
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Lamb Filling:
For the Dough:
For the Yogurt Sauce:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, and lamb. Break up lamb into small crumbles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Toss in garlic, currants, pine nuts, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and allspice. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

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  • Pour tomato sauce into the lamb mixture. Add water, stir, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until lamb mixture dries up and you can stir it without seeing liquid on the bottom of the pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool completely before using.

  • In the meantime, combine egg, yogurt, water, and butter in a bowl. Whisk together thoroughly.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a round baking pan or sheet pan.

  • Place 2 sheets of phyllo on your work surface. Keep remaining sheets covered with a damp towel. Sprinkle some egg wash lightly on top and spread using a pastry brush. Layer on 2 more sheets, one at a time, brushing some more egg wash over each.

  • Line 1/3 of the lamb filling along one wide edge of the phyllo. Roll pastry up starting from the filling side and place it against the edge of the pan. Brush more egg wash on top.

  • Shape and fill 2 more rolls with remaining phyllo, most of the egg wash, and filling. Wrap rolls along and inside the first one, filling the pan, and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

  • Combine yogurt, mint, lemon juice, and garlic for the yogurt sauce. Mix in enough water to achieve desired consistency for dipping. Season with salt and cayenne. Cut borek into wedges and serve with yogurt sauce.

Chef's Notes:

Save any extra phyllo, since the filling recipe above makes extra, and you can fold up some smaller, triangular boreks if you want.

Substitute chopped raisins for the currants if desired.

If you're not into lamb, this works perfectly with beef. Or try a spinach-cream cheese filling for a vegetarian version.

Nutrition Facts

449 calories; protein 25.4g; carbohydrates 24g; fat 28g; cholesterol 110.7mg; sodium 1086mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (8)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
05/07/2019
Very good!!! Amazing flavor!!! I will make just the meat mixture for sandwiches or to be served over rice. It tasted good wrapped up in the phyllo pastry but I won't make it like that everytime. This is a keeper for sure!!! Thanks Chef John! Read More
(1)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
05/04/2020
This sounded great, and though ok, it was not like my mother-in-laws Borek. The spicy lamb filling was good, but not what we were expecting in this dish. Read More
10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
04/30/2019
This was spectacular! Not fond of lamb, so I used ground beef. The spices were spot on. Used a pastry cutter to "crumble" the meat, and that made quick work of it. This is an excellent company dish -- very dramatic looking and you can make the filling in advance. Another A+, Chef John. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
04/29/2019
I made this recipe as it is written. I liked the borek and will make it again but I thought it was a little bland. The yogurt topping is essential and makes all the difference. After all was said and done I made 4x as much as was suggested. Just the same I will look at other recipes and may add spices based on other recipes. It really is not as hard as it looks and is fun to make. It looks beautiful when cooked and makes good leftovers. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/29/2019
Really great and tasty dish! Couldn t get enough of it Read More
(1)
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Rating: 4 stars
05/07/2019
Very good!!! Amazing flavor!!! I will make just the meat mixture for sandwiches or to be served over rice. It tasted good wrapped up in the phyllo pastry but I won't make it like that everytime. This is a keeper for sure!!! Thanks Chef John! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
03/21/2021
This is a wonderful recipe. I made very few changes. As a nod to my vegetarian daughter, I made it with ground turkey and it was perfect. I also added a handful of fresh spinach and a tiny bit of feta. It is a showy, flavorful, delicious dish! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2021
A bit putzy, but looked nice and tasted wonderful. I've made it twice so far. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2019
This is a great dish. Flavorful and easy to make. It's the easiest use of filo dough ever! I think using the egg wash on it was what makes it easy to work with. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
02/26/2020
It was good and added something to the list of things I could cook but it wasn’t something I see myself cooking often. My kids liked it and the yogurt sauce was good, I’ve been trying to make new and unique foods lately to get out of making the norm. My fiancé said “this is weird, but it tastes good.” I will say, not enough sauce is made as my fiancé is a sauce crazy person so I had to double up on the sauce. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
05/04/2020
This sounded great, and though ok, it was not like my mother-in-laws Borek. The spicy lamb filling was good, but not what we were expecting in this dish. Read More