Lamb burek, dill pickles and yoghurt

Lamb burek, dill pickles and yoghurt

Real Food by Mike
Alan Benson

I have fond memories of travelling through Eastern Europe and having a burek from the market early in the morning. It would often be served with sharp things, such as yoghurt and lemon to squeeze over, but I enjoy it with pickles. I like the crunch of the small cucumber with the rich lamb, and the creamy yoghurt brings the flavours together. This is also delicious with the Vegetable kraut recipe included in this cookbook.


Quantity Ingredient
200g brik or filo pastry
100g clarified butter, melted
4 teaspoons sumac
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
120g yoghurt, to serve
400g dill pickles, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teapsoon ground cardamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlice cloves, crushed
1 brown onion, finely diced
400g minced lamb
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped


  1. For the filling, in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the spices in the oil until they are aromatic. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent. Add the lamb and pine nuts and cook for 10 minutes, until all the moisture has evaporated and the lamb is brown and sizzling in the oil. You will need to stir the meat regularly to stop the lamb from cooking in large lumps. Once the lamb is cooked and dry, remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice and mint and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  3. On a clean work surface, lay out four sheets of brik pastry (one per burek). Brush each sheet with the clarified butter and scatter with sumac.
  4. Divide the lamb filling between the four piles of pastry. Roll them up into a kebab shape, tucking the ends underneath. Alternatively, you can place the filling in a pile in the centre of your pastry layers, then gather the pastry up towards the centre to form a round parcel and then twist the top. Place the burek on the baking tray.
  5. Brush the tops of the burek with more melted clarified butter and scatter with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with yoghurt for dipping and pickles to refresh the palate.

Medicinal Benefit

  • A high-quality protein, lamb is a very good source of vitamin B3 (niacin), which helps convert food into energy, and vitamin B12, which helps in the production of red blood cells. Both the lacto-fermented dill pickles and the yoghurt provide probiotics (‘good’ bacteria) for gut health. There are five main benefits of probiotics: they boost the immune system; they prevent and treat urinary tract infections; they improve digestive function; they help inflammatory bowel conditions like irritable bowel syndrome; and they help in managing and preventing eczema.
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