Tag: Bulgaria

Legendary Dishes | Patatnik (cheese and potato pie)

BULGARIA

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
  • Salt
  • Seasonings
  • 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.


Traditional Version

  • 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.


Levened Version

  • 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.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Eggs | Onions | Potatoes | White Brined Cheese

LEGENDARY DISHES


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Legendary Dishes | Banitsa (cheese filo spiral)

BULGARIA

Yufka, the thin pastry dough for making baklava, banitsa, börek, kadaiyf, manti and other filo confections, usually starts with a combination from flour, oil and water. Variations call for milk in place of water, the addition of egg or lemon juice or salt, the absence of oil, or the use of bicarbonate of soda (which is usually mixed with the juice).

Filo pastries are thought to be a product of the Ottomans because they refined the art and spread it across eastern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Filo origins are much older.

Dough

  • 300 g strong white wheat flour
  • 150 ml water, warmed 
  • 1 egg
  • 15 ml sunflower oil

Sieve the flour onto a clean work surface, make a well, add egg, oil and water, form into a soft dough, knead and leave to rest for an hour.

Filling 

  • 250 g brined white cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 150 ml yoghurt
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk, for glazing
  • Bicarbonate of Soda, pinch
  • Butter, melted / Oil, for brushing

Crumble the cheese into the yoghurt, add the beaten eggs, butter and soda, fold together.

Roll the dough into thin sheets 1 mm thin, cut into 12 equal-sized sheets.

Brush 3 sheets with butter or oil. Place sheets one atop the other.

Spread one third of filling over the pastry.

Top with 3 more sheets, each brushed with butter or oil.

Spread second third of filling over the pastry.

Top with 3 more sheets, each brushed with butter or oil.

Spread remaining filling over the pastry.

Top last layer of filling with 3 oiled sheets.

Roll loosely, and shape into a spiral in a greased baking tray.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Glaze pastry with egg yolk.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Bulgarian White Cheese | Bulgarian Yoghurt