Saturday, March 12, 2011

Potato Onion Filled Phyllo

In Praise of the Potato

Whether you'd prefer to call it yufka as the Turkish do or phyllo as the Greek do, it's something unique in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine to create fabulous pastries. If you google for it, you'll find tens of recipes you can easily make with these paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. Potato pastry is just one of those wonders. Particularly here in Bosnia where people tend to eat potatoes in the winter much more than usual, it's a good idea to buy ready-to-use yufka to make potato pastry following my mother-in-law's recommendations. She always makes her own dough, though. Here it goes!

1 pkg Phyllo dough
4 large onions
7-8 large potatoes
3 medium eggs
½ l milk
vegetable oil and butter
2-3 tsp thyme leaves salt and black pepper            
1. Place the potatoes into a deep saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft. Drain and cool. Peel and grate the potatoes.

2. Meanwhile, chop the onions. Place a pan over a medium-high heat and, when hot, add about 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onions to the pan and toss. Lower the heat and cook the onions, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they are tender.
3. Add the grated potatoes, salt, black pepper and thyme. Stir thoroughly until the onion is distributed throughout the potatoes.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with milk and vegetable oil. This is the sauce you should sprinkle over each layer of dough.

6. Place a sheet of dough on your lightly greased ovenproof dish. Sprinkle some egg-milk- oil mixture over the dough until it becomes moist. Spread potato onion mixture over the moist dough. Place another sheet of dough and spread some more mixture over it. Repeat until the last piece of sheet. If the dough insists on tearing just patch it up.

7. Lay the last sheet over the top and pour the whole remaining egg-milk-olive oil mixture.
8. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the top is golden.

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