Monday, October 26, 2009
Bosnia and Herzegovina - dough
Bosnia and Herzegovina is in South-East Europe on the Balkan Peninsula bordered by Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. It gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. The country’s tourism industry is growing rapidly. You may remember Sarajevo, the capital, as the host of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. It’s a city known for its religious and cultural sites. It’s also a popular skiing destination and an adventurers paradise who want to hike through the virtually untouched and wild Southern Alps. It is also a popular site for white water rafting with its three rivers, including Tara River, the deepest river canyon in Europe.
Bosnian food is a mixture of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Austrian influence. Typical meat dishes include beef and lamb and much of their meat is from animals raised on free range farms and have not been shot up with chemicals and hormones. Bosnian food also has a wide variety of dairy products.
For our Bosnian meal I made Burek (a beef-stuffed pastry) and a spinach pie (Zelijanica). It was good but a bit bland after Bhutan and Bolivia.
The kids loved making the Burek, even if they did fight over the rolling pin. I was glad they were keen on making this with me. They each got their own bowl in making the dough (we combined them later). Anything that is gooey and creates a mess is fun for them – even at their ages. There was flour all over the kitchen, which only added to my normal cooking mess. The kids dove their hands in their bowls pulling out a gooey blob but they had fun adding flour to it to create the perfect consistency.
I was in no position to complain about the mess. I was all too happy to hand over the dough making to John and Julia. Making bread scares me, and luckily, there was no yeast involved.
The Burek, surprisingly, turned out looking pretty. I had even coiled the dough to look like the kind of Bureks I had seen in pictures. We ate it doused with sour cream.
The spinach pie was simple to make. I had bought sheets of fillo dough and Julia helped me layer the baking dish with fillo dough and the spinach and cheese mixture. We ate it warm right out of the oven and cold the next day.
3 2/3 cup flour
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 lb minced veal
1 lb minced beef
2 TBSP butter, melted
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
Mix flour, melted butter, salt and warm water to make the pastry.
For the filling: mix meat, melted butter, chopped onions, egg yolks, salt and pepper.
Roll dough until thin and let it dry for a few minutes. Brush pastry with melted butter. Put the meat filling at the edge of the dough and then roll it up to look like a sausage. On the baking sheet create a spiral with the pastry starting from the middle of the pan.
Before completely baked pour a little melted butter on it.
Bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Spinach pie (Zelijanica)
1 package fillo dough
2 bags fresh spinach
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 lb ricotta or cottage cheese (I used half a container)
1 1/2 tsp salt
plain yogurt (optional)
Preheat over to 350. Chop spinach and put in a bowl. Add salt and mix with hands. Leave for 10 minutes and then drain. Mix together eggs and sour cream and add to spinach. Add cheese to the mixture. Grease baking pan. Take fillo sheets and lay them on a dry surface. Place one sheet of fillo and cut away excess. Brush with oil. Repeat for six or seven layers. Add some filling and spread evenly. Repeat until the pie reaches to top of pan, or you run out of ingredients. Finish with a fillo pastry on top. Place pie in oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Pour 1/4 cup sour cream blended with 1/4 cup of milk. Bake for another 15 minutes. It can be served warm or cold and it is served with yogurt.