If you’re not a fan of offal, I won’t be able to persuade you to try this recipe. That said, the people that tucked into the finished dish didn’t realise that these Börek contained lamb’s kidney. Börek or Burek are baked pastries, usually stuffed with something – sweet or savoury – rolled in filo pastry.
My nearest Quality Standard Butcher is Macken Brothers in Chiswick and a dozen lamb kidneys cost an economical £5.75.
To Make 18 Borek
12 lamb kidneys, cleaned and chopped small, not fine. Cut the kidneys in two lengthwise and remove the white fatty cortex. I use scissors to snip it out and those disposable latex gloves to handle them.
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons of clear honey
Generous amount of sea salt and black pepper, to taste
50g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
125g dried apricots, again chopped small, not fine
100g toasted pine nuts
6 sheets of filo pastry – if you can find them, pre-cut Borek triangles make life easier.
2 large eggs, beaten
Nigella seeds to decorate
In a large preheated frying pan, drizzle in enough vegetable oil to coat the base and fry the onions until deep golden brown. Add the kidneys, and stir quickly to prevent sticking and add all the spices and mix well.
After a few minutes cooking, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the honey, adding a good amount of salt and pepper and taste to ensure the mix is seasoned well. Allow to cool.
Once the mix is cold, add the chopped parsley, apricots and pine nuts and mix well.
On a clean work surface, take the filo pastry and cut into quarters (enough to make 18 boreks) and lay them on top of each other so they don’t go dry. Place one quarter of the pastry horizontally in front of you. Take a spoonful of filling and make sure not to press the filling onto the pastry to hard, ensure you leave enough pastry on each side for the ends to be tucked in and rolled up. Tuck each end flap of pastry inwards to secure the filling from the sides and pick up the bottom end of the pastry rolling it away from you, almost to the end before brushing them with egg wash. Don’t roll tightly or the filling will burst out of the pastry wall when they’re being baked.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan), 180°C, gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment – not greaseproof.
Place the finished boreks onto the baking tray and repeat until they’re all done. Brush them liberally with the beaten egg mixture and give each a scattering of nigella seeds, before placing them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Serve immediately.
If you’re using pre-cut triangles
Have the triangle, long side in front of you, point to the top. Add about an inch-width of filling, leaving a short gap on either side of the edges. Brush the beaten egg wash around the entire triangle edge and begin to roll up, tuck in the edges, ensuring the egg yolk is acting as a glue to hold the pastry together – you’re aiming for a slim, filled cigar. Add egg wash and sprinkle with Nigella seeds.