When the farmers of the Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria began to grow potatoes, it was a natural progression to cook them with the rural ingredients that formed their traditional culinary heritage – cheese from sheep‘s milk, strong onions, and aromatic herbs such as spearmint.
These are the basic ingredients for a good patatnik, but there are always options. Meat enriches the dish, red peppers replace onions, savoury replaces spearmint, but cheese is the constant. Keeping with the Balkan tradition of making pies with filo pastry, patatnik should also be encased in the thin sheets.
- 300 g potatoes, mashed
- 150 g sausage meat, cooked
- 100 g Bulgarian brined white cheese
- 2 eggs
- Parsley / Mint
- Butter, melted
- 10 filo sheets cut to size of baking tray, greased with butter
Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix eggs into cheese, meat and potatoes, season with salt and some chopped parsley or mint. Grease tray with butter, place a sheet of filo lightly on the bottom, repeat with four more sheets. Spoon mixture into tray. Place remaining greased sheets on top.
Bake for 40 minutes.
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled, grated
- 250 g Bulgarian brined white cheese / semi-hard cheese
- 2 duck eggs
- 120 ml sour cream
- 90 g bacon, cubed
- 30 g butter / oil, for greasing
- 15 g parsley / mint, chopped small
- 5 g black pepper, pinch
- 5 g salt, pinch
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Work bacon, cheese, eggs, herbs and seasonings into the potatoes. Grease a shallow baking tray, spoon potato mixture onto tray, press with a spatula into corners for an even spread. Bake for 50 minutes, until golden brown, a little longer for a crisp finish.
- 750 g potatoes, grated
- 375 g white wheat flour
- 200 g onions, chopped small
- 3 eggs
- 125 ml sunflower oil
- 30 ml water, tepid
- 25 g yeast
- 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
- 10 g salt
- Butter, for greasing
Dissolve yeast in water, leave to froth, about ten minutes. Combine onions with potatoes in a large bowl, add flour followed by yeast mixture, oil and seasonings. Mix thoroughly with wet hands. Spoon into a greased baking tray, leave to rise for an hour. Preheat oven to 200°C. Bake for 50 minutes, until top is golden brown.