Bosnian Meat Bureks


While away from home, what Canadian food do my kids miss the most in France?! Not a burger, nor an apple pie, but the bureks that we used to buy at the local market in Canada. They had mentioned it so many times over the past weeks that my heart couldn't take the kids' culinary suffering no longer and I started the quest for a pseudo-burek.

Burek is a Mediterranean pie with various fillings, from meat to apples, made by a variety of ethnicities in Europe and Asia: Turks, Greeks, Croats, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Czech, etc. The commonality among all recipes is phyllo dough and the rest of the ingredients, as well as the shape, vary from region to region.

I call this particular recipe Bosnian because I tried to approximate the bureks that we buy at the local market in Canada, whose owner is (or at least I heard is) from Bosnia.

From the start I knew it would never make the dough the way it is supposed to be made - beautifully thin, flexible, moist, and live. I just don't have the skills for it. I went to the box French supermarket, Carrefour, bought a pack of phyllo dough. Unfortunately, the pre-made phyllo dough is not as flexible as home-made and I couldn't make those perfectly round pies.

Next time I'll try making Turkish cigar-shaped bureks by laying out the bureks in straight lines vs. trying to roll them.

What I created is not the original recipe by any means, mostly in the difference of the dough. Nevertheless, these bureks turned out to be really good. The phyllo dough added crunch to the top dough layer and the filling was savoury, tender and moist. Although the original bureks are great, these turned out different, but quite delicious.

Servings: 10 bureks, 10cm in diamer
Time: 1 hour

  • 1 pack phyllo dough, 10-12 sheets
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 med. potato, grated
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a large baking sheet. 
  2. In a large bowl mix ground beef, garlic, onions, grated potato, egg, and spices.
  3. Choose a large working surface, at least the size of a phyllo sheet - this can be a counter top or a large cutting board. Make sure it is not granite or wood: oil will ruin both.
  4. Grease the surface with oil and lay out the first phyllo sheet. Cover the rest of the dough with a towel to prevent drying out. Grease the sheet with more oil.
  5. Spread some filling length-wise. It should not be too much, just a bit of meat for each inch.
  6. Starting with the side closest to you, start wrapping the sheet in a loose tube. Once done, form a snail-shaped circle. Alternatively, lay them out in straight lines next to each other.
  7. Put the baking sheet with bureks in the oven for 30 minutes. Once done, let them cool for 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

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