During the 9 days before Tisha B'Av (the date that both Holy Temples were destroyed and a fast day) it is custom to avoid eating meat since it is a period of mourning. Now that the holiday just passed, I am really craving meat. But since it is the middle of the summer, I don't want to cook anything too heavy, but I want something more unique then a hamburger.
I just returned from a trip to Israel where borekas in different shapes, sizes, and fillings are all over the narrow alleys of the Shuks. Borekas are a puff pastry dough (sometimes phyllo) filled pastry, similar to an empanada or perogie. They can be sweet or savory with fillings such as cheese, chocolate, spinach, or meat. I decided to make my own meat filled boreka using the spiced influence of the Mid-East.
Moroccan Meat Borekas
1 box (2 sheets) puffed pastry dough, defrosted and unrolled
1 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds, optional for topping
In a large pan, cook onion in a little olive oil until translucent, then add garlic. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the meat with the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper and tomato paste and add to the large pan. Cook until brown, stirring periodically. When finished, turn the heat off and let the meat cool a little.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take sheet of the defrosted puff pastry and roll out slightly. Cut the sheet into 9 or 12 squares (depending on if you want large or small borekas). Close to the bottom corner of each square fill with about a spoonful of the meat mixture and fold top half to meet the bottom, creating a triangle. Using your finger, push the edges of the dough together to close.
Repeat with second sheet of dough
Gently brush the tops of all the triangles with the beaten egg. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough is lightly browned.