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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Osbane de Poulet (Algerian Stuffed Chicken)

Osbane de Poulet

Osbane de Poulet is one of the very first dishes my husband ever prepared for me. It’s one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him. Not just because it tastes amazing, but because we share a passion for food. Yes, everyone loves to eat, but we could be eating and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow or even next week. It’s very common in a French household to do the same and since Algerians are heavily influenced by the French due to their colonization, this habit runs strong in the family.

This dish is fairly heavy and rich in flavor, I would suggest this dish to be paired with many vegetables. Meat stuffed into more meat, it’s an American dream.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breast
  • 8 ounces minced beef
  • 1 large onion grated
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 ounces rice
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak rice for 10 minutes in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F
  3. Combine minced beef, chopped onion, parsley, rice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slice chicken to roll out flat.
  5. In the middle of breast fill with beef mixture about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Roll the right side into the left and the left on top of the right.
  6. Secure together with toothpicks.
  7. If there is any leftover beef mixture roll into meatballs.
  8. Lay each breast into a baking dish.
  9. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Layer on slices of tomato and onion.
  11. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil in a “A-Style Tent” and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Let set for 10 minutes, remove toothpicks and serve. Best served with mashed potatoes.

*cooking times may differentiate due to location. always check that the meat is cook thoroughly.

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Techniques on filling chicken:

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Chorba Beida (Algerian White Soup)

Chorba Baida

Chorba Beida or White Chorba as it’s called in our home is a traditional Algerian soup from Algiers and Constantine. We normally have it throughout Ramadan or even on a cold Florida night which is not often, lol. Traditionally the soup is made without vegetables. For a culture that uses more vegetables than meat I found it odd that the soup required none. But my mother in law adds potato and zucchini, so we do too. White Chorba has a counterpart known as Chorba Frik that has frik (ground durum) but for White Chorba rice, orzo, vermicelli or even angel hair is used instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken (breast is best)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 small potatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • handful of angel hair (no more than a nickel in diameter)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups hot water
  • chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil and add onions. Sprinkle with a bit of salt to sweat until translucent.
  2. Add chopped chicken then season with salt, cinnamon and black pepper. Brown chicken slightly. Do not let chicken stick to pot.
  3. Then add chickpeas and potatoes. Fill pot with 5 cups hot water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once the boil has started, let it do so for 1 minute then turn down to medium-low heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini to pot and continue simmering for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl beat the egg, and lemon.
  7. While stirring the pot profusely pour in the egg and lemon mixture. This will make the soup turn white in color. Continue stirring to throughly mix the egg in.
  8. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour into bowls and garnish with parsley.
  10. Serve with boureks (Algerian Fried Pastry) and bread such as a baguette.

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Adjidjettes Sardine (Algerian Sardine Patties)

IMG_3561

In the United States little is ever thought of when it comes to Sardines. Negative stereotypes such as that “smelly fish in a can” all came through my head when my husband told me he wanted Sardine Patties. But when he brought the fresh fish home, I started to come around. We prepared them together, gutting and deboning, disgusting to say the least but after tasting them I looked back at all the years I let pass without having them in my life!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh sardines, gutted and filleted
  • 3/4 – 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch paprika

Directions:

  1. If you already have your sardines cleaned and deboned, slice into small pieces as it will break down easier when forming patties.
  2. Place fish into a large bowl.
  3. Add to the fish the garlic powder, parsley, onion, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, egg and flour.
  4. Mix thoroughly with your hands creating a chunky paste consistency.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Form into oversized half dollar patties and place them on wax paper until ready to fry.
  7. In a large pan of vegetable oil fry the patties on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  8. Once the patties are brown in color, they are done.
  9. Blot in paper towels and serve with lemon wedges.

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*If you are unable to find them fresh you will be able to find them in any asian market in the frozen section of fish. They most likely come from Spain or Portugal. Just let them defrost and clean them.