Eureka! Burekas Stuffed with Celery, Fennel and Potato

March 14, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Serves 5 to 10
Author Notes

Make ‘em flaky, make ‘em savory. sweet or spicy.
A popular street food in Israel,the bureka derives from nomadic Turkish cuisine, dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Essentially a turnover any way you cut it, a bureka by any other name is a “börek” in Turkey, a byurek in Bulgaria, a spanakopita in Greece, all variations on the theme of phyllo dough pastry filled with an aromatic mix of veggies, potatoes, meats or cheeses.

My recipe builds on the genius of Joan Nathan’s lively and authoritative recipe from The Foods of Israel Today. With celery and fennel taking the star role, I’ve added potato, and sharpened the flavor combination with lemon, cinnamon, cardamon, anise seed, and the Mother-of-All Mediterranean spice mixes known as za’atar. Serve hot out of the oven for a versatile choice for brunch, cocktails or for a light and breezy supper perfect with a salad. —Vivian Henoch

What You'll Need
  • 4 to 5 Yukon Gold potatoes (par boiled and diced)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small shallot or 3 scallions chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups celery! sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons za-atar
  • 1 tablespoon anise seed
  • 1 package (roll) prepared phyllo dough (Athens brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For filling: in a large sauté pan heat three to four tablespoons of olive oil. Add shallot, celery and fennel and cook until vegetables are softened.
  2. Add potatoes, scallions, spices, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. (Note: leave some za-atar in reserve for dusting on top of rolls.) Remove from burner and let mixture cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, coat a cookie sheet with oil.
  4. Working with 4 to 5 sheets of phyllo stacked together, brush top layer with olive oil. Spoon filling (about 1/4 cup) along the edge of the oiled dough, fold the short sides in and roll as you would a jelly roll. Place on the greased cookie sheet seam-side down and brush top and sides with oil. Repeat with the remaining phyllo dough and filling.
  5. Lightly sprinkle oiled logs with za’atar.
  6. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  7. Cut each log in half for meal-size servings. Option: cut into smaller pieces to serve as appetizers

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vivian Henoch
    Vivian Henoch
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • aargersi
  • drbabs

8 Reviews

Tarannum F. November 10, 2014
Dear Vivian,
What is za-atar? This spice is not available in my country (Bangladesh).
Is it the mixture of oregano,basil,thyme and sesame Or something else?
Please let me know if there is any substitute for za-atar.
Vivian H. March 15, 2012
Stalking the celery here. Too funny! To find the same patterns in our virtual kitchens as in life. The whole point of this recipe was the celery, of course. I shopped for it, researched recipes for it, chopped it, food processed it, sauteed it, baked it, photographed it, even made a salad to go into the contest with it. . . and then... left it out of the ingredient listing. Typical. I trust it's in there now.

Just a question? Once you've set your ingredient listing, I'm finding it difficult to add items, in the middle of the sequence... without re-doing the entire recipe. Is there something else I'm missing? Thanks.

LeBec F. March 14, 2012
my pleasure, vivian. I can't help but think of being 13 in the kitchen with my mom. She put the applesauce cake in the oven , closed the oven door, and said, "Now what is it I've forgotten? I just think I forgot something.
Oh yes, of course!...the applesauce" !! (must say, been there, done that...:-} )
Vivian H. March 14, 2012
Oh my! Can't believe it. Thanks so much for pointing out the oversight. So wrapped up in the phyllo and listing the ingredients, I forgot the celery, the star of the filling!! Thank you Mindy, Aargersi and drbabs!! You saved me.
LeBec F. March 14, 2012
gotta add celery into your ingredients for the phyllo! you can only edit until the recipes go into the test kitchen phase.
your proof reader friend,
aargersi March 14, 2012
Yum! And pretty too!
drbabs March 14, 2012
Love this!
drbabs March 14, 2012
But where's the celery?