Bourek Laadjine (Algerian Hand Pies)

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Bourek Laadjine is a variety of Algerian savory pastries that is primarily made of bread rather than the traditional thin sheets of wrappers, hence the name that translates into bourek with dough. It can be served as an appetizer or with chorba. It is perfect during the month of Ramadan since it can be prepared and frozen in advance or right before serving. They are very similar to the South American empanadas and the filling can vary from meat, eggs or even just cheese.Also the dough can be fried or baked, the recipe can be changed easily to your tastes. Whatever your family likes, these will sure to be a treat.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, beaten

Filling

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Dough:

  1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add milk to warm water, mix.
  3. Slowly add water/milk mixture to bowl. All may not be needed.
  4. Mix until a rag consistency is made.
  5. Add a bit more water and start to knead. You want the dough to be slightly sticky.
  6. Once the dough has been kneaded, place into a floured bowl.
  7. Preheat oven to 300 for 1 minute.
  8. Turn off and place dough in oven for 1 hour to rise.

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Filling:

  1. In a pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onion and sprinkle salt over to help sweat.
  2. Once the onion have become partly translucent add tomatoes. Saute until the onions have become clear and tomatoes have broken down. Cover.
  3. Add spinach, allow to break down then add mushrooms.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  5. Continue to saute for a few more minutes then remove from heat.
  6. In another pan brown and season meat with salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin.
  7. Add the vegetables into the meat and mix thoroughly.
  8. Let cool completely before forming.

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Forming:

  1. Roll a golf ball sized piece of dough on to a lightly floured surface with a thickness of about 4mm. It doesn’t have to be perfect but the diameter should be able to cover 2 spoonfuls of filling.
  2. Fill with filling and fold over sides and roll in top and bottoms crimping as you turn them over.
  3. Place onto parchment paper and continue forming until you have run out of dough and filling. You should be able to make 8 hand pies with the dough.
  4. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. Brush pies with beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle salt on top.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

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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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