Bourek Algéroise (Algerian Fried Meat Pastry)

Bourek Algéroise (Algerian Fried Meat Pastry)

As a Filipino I grew up preparing a similar dish to Bourek called Lumpia. It’s thin crispy layers of dough wrapped around a meat filling. It’s funny how a dish can be similarly made all around the world. But on the Mediterranean the dish has primarily the same name. You can order börek in Turkey, byrek in Albania, byorek in Armenia, boureki in Greece, bourekas in Israel, burek in the Balkans, and even brik in Tunisia. And you’ll end up with a delectable fried pastry. In Algeria the pastry is made with a circular wrapper called dioule but you can easily substitute them with Chinese spring roll wrappers as they are more readily available in the US.

Bourek is a staple on the Algerian table during Ramadan. Easily pair with chorba and serve with fresh lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced meat (beef, chicken, lamb)
  • 10-15 wrappers
  • cheese ( I use Salvadorian frying cheese, but cream cheese, laughing cow or even sliced cheese can be used, its up to your preference.
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pan saute onions, sprinkle with salt to help sweat them.
  2. Add minced meat and brown.
  3. Season with spices and add parsley.
  4. Thoroughly cook and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cool peel apart a wrapper and fill with about 2 tablespoons meat and a slice of cheese, again use your preference on cheese and how much you would like to use.
  6. Fold one side over, then the other.
  7. Begin rolling forward from the bottom and continue rolling until there is no more wrapper. You can seal with water or even egg wash but is not necessarily needed.
  8. Continue wrapping until all wrappers and meat mixture have been used.
  9. Then in a new pan heat up a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat and place bourek in pan.
  10. Fry until all sides are a golden brown.
  11. Garnish with more parsley and serve with lemon.

*You can prepare bourek in advance and freeze them. Just take them out 10 minute before frying to thaw.

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Dolma (Algerian Stuffed Vegetables)

Dolma

Is Dolma an Algerian or Turkish recipe? That is the question Shakespeare. Surprisingly Shakespeare was around when the Turkish brought the Dolma recipe to Algeria under the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey the recipe is actually called Dolmak which means “to be stuffed”. Countless items can be turned into “Dolma” such as squid, cabbage, grape leaves and even chicken breast. Traditionally the Dolma is stuffed with a meat mixture and if it’s not it’s referred to as “Fake Dolmak” so don’t be that person that serves fake dolma!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup rice (presoaked for 10 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 zucchini chopped into thirds
  • 4-5 small potatoes
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups hot water

Directions:

  1. Start by preparing the vegetables. Zucchinis are always peeled in 3-4 sections as shown below. Then halved or cut into thirds depending on how big they are. Carefully hollow each vegetable. This takes some practice, start out slow!
  2. Then in a large bowl mix minced beef, rice, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  3. Fill vegetables with meat and roll what is left over into meatballs.
  4. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Sprinkle with salt to sweat onions.
  5. Add meatballs if any, and brown.
  6. Then coordinate vegetables so they all stand up.
  7. Slowly add 8 cups hot water, add salt and bring to a boil.
  8. After 1 minute of boiling lower heat to a simmer and cover pot.
  9. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. Garnish with parsley.

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Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik or Jari as it is known in the western part of the country is the most requested soup during Ramadan. Chorba Frik is just one of those recipes that you MUST know if you are married to an Algerian or wanting to. It’s right up there next to Couscous, lol. No pressure though. This recipe is easy to follow and just as wonderful. From the smokiness from the frik to the tanginess of the cilantro, this recipe will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds. Pair this soup with bourek, bread and harissa.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lamb cubed (beef and or chicken can be substituted)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 zucchinis cut into demi circles
  • 2 potatoes quartered
  • 2 carrots cut into 3 sections
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup frik (cracked wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chick peas (soaked overnight)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • beef/chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown quickly. Season with spices and add chickpeas.
  3. Add 1/2 of cilantro.
  4. Continue browning the meat and add the carrots and potatoes. Seer the vegetables slightly.
  5. Add the 8 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and continue for 15 minutes then add zucchini. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables into a separate bowl with 1 cup of broth.
  8. Emulsify vegetables until smooth with hand blender or crush with potato masher/fork.
  9. Place vegetable puree back into pot and add frik.
  10. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and add lemon juice. Adjust taste with salt.

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Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia (Algerian White Beans)

Loubia, Loobia, Lubia!

Loubia is the Algerian comparable of American Chili, Texas Ranch Beans or even English Baked Beans. In Algeria this stew is served in a cassolette with a splash of vinegar, olive oil and of course fresh baked bread. The vinegar and olive oil help to balance the heaviness of this dish. Any vinegar other than apple cider is fine to serve with it. Some people like to have additional ground cumin, minced garlic and chilies to garnish their loubia, so depending on who you are serving it’s nice to have these on the table.

Traditionally haricot beans would be used but as I live in the U.S. we call them navy beans. Great Northern Beans can be used as well, but just any white bean in general is good to use. Also as I’m an American and we do love our beef I added  meatballs made of such. You can easily trade out the beef for lamb or even make it vegeterian. There are so many variations of what you can do with this. There’s even a soup called Chorba Loubia. Just add more water, potatoes and carrots. Perfect for a cold winter night.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions diced finely
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pound navy beans (soaked)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl take your ground beef and season with garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly and form into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  3. Set aside.

Beans:

  1. In a pot heat olive oil and add onions.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and let the onions sweat until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and continue to saute onions and garlic. Make sure not to brown garlic as it will cause a bitter taste.
  4. Add meatballs and brown.
  5. Once all the meatballs are browned evenly add cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  6. Add beans and 6 cups hot water.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Add tomato paste and bouillon cube.
  9. Let boil for 1 minute, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 1 hour. Occasionally testing the firmness of the beans.
  10. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

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*soak beans the night prior to cooking.

M’thouem Sauce Blanche (Algerian Garlic Meatballs in White Sauce)

Algerian M'thouem

M’thouem or M’tewem is an Algerian dish specifically from Algiers. A  traditional dish during Ramadan; it is composed of meatballs, chickpeas and garlic. In Arabic the word “thouem” means garlic, hence the name M’thouem. The amount of garlic in this dish can be adjusted at will. There are many variations of this dish, as the sauce can be red or white and the chickpeas can be switched out with almonds or served with both. What you pair with it can vary as well, over couscous, or just with bread to soak up the sauce. Either way you serve it, I’m sure this dish will become a staple in your home soon.

Today I will be preparing M’thouem Sauce Blanche as it is my husband’s favorite way for it to be done.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef (93% lean is best)
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup almonds (blanched and split)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped finely (some people use a hold head, or you can use less)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine minced beef, bread crumbs, salt, cumin and black pepper.
  2. Roll into meatballs no larger than a quarter in circumference.
  3. Place meatballs on wax paper and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  4. In a pot heat olive oil and throw in onions. Sprinkle with salt and let sweat until translucent.
  5. Turning down the heat to medium low, add in garlic. Let sweat quickly making sure not to burn.
  6. Add meatballs to pot and let brown. Browning the meatballs will ensure that they will not fall apart in the sauce.
  7. Once meatballs have browned add chickpeas.
  8. Add hot water just covering the meatballs. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a beef bouillon cube if taste is not rich enough.
  10. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it do so for 30 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce in half.
  11. 10 minutes before serving add in the almonds.
  12. Serve with a nice crusty bread such as a baguette.

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