When restaurants closed, and dining at home was “in” once again, sisters Meital and Adi Hirschkorn of Teaneck took it upon themselves to turn their home into a five-star restaurant for their family. The Hirschkorns experimented with cuisine from around the world, but found that their favorite was the Eastern European Burek. They followed a recipe from ethnicspoon.com.
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a small frying pan heat the olive oil and add the onions. Cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the beef and the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the beef is browned.
4. Remove beef mixture from heat and place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. (Warming the meat with juice will ruin the delicate phyllo and make it soggy.)
5. Take phyllo dough and unroll carefully. Cut in half. Cover with a moist tea towel to avoid drying.
6. Take 3 sheets of phyllo at a time and place a good amount of meat down the center, leaving about 2 inches at both top and bottom. Using a pastry brush, brush all around the edges of the dough. Fold in once all around. Fold from the short side up and roll tightly like a cigar. Brush with melted margarine and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the burek is golden brown. Serve with a side of plain dairy-free yogurt. Any leftover phyllo can be stored again in the freezer. Make sure to wrap it tightly so it doesn’t dry out.
Throughout quarantine Joshua Feigin of Teaneck has taken up cooking as a pastime and has recently been experimenting with stews. One of the recipes he has tried is a french-style beef stew recipe from cookinglight.com. Instead of a dutch oven Feigin uses a simple medium-sized metal pot. He got his recipe from cookinglight.com.
Start to finish: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
1) Preheat oven to 275 F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high. Sprinkle beef with pepper and salt. Add beef to Dutch oven in batches, and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer browned beef to a plate. Set aside.
2) Reduce heat to medium-high. Add sliced onions and carrots to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping browned bits from bottom of pan, until onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes; use a wooden spoon to break them into chunks. Stir in wine, broth, thyme, bay leaves and beef. Bring to a boil.
3) Cover pan. Transfer to oven and bake at 275 F until beef is tender, about 2 hours.
4) Meanwhile, spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add mushrooms in 2 batches. Cook over medium-high, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir mushrooms, pearl onions and vinegar into beef mixture. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until pearl onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Similar to the Hirschhorns, Esther Ginzberg of Bergenfield has also enjoyed trying out unique international cuisine throughout quarantine. She is particularly fond of beef empanadas. Ginzberg’s favorite recipe is from www.themodernproper.com.
Start to finish: 1 hour 25 minutes
1. To make the pastry dough, pulse the flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter, egg and ice water. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Shape the dough into a ball. Tightly cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. While empanada dough is resting, prepare the filling. Fill a medium size stock pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the cubed potato to the pot and boil the potato until tender, about 3 minutes. While potatoes are boiling, brown the beef in a sauté pan over medium heat along with the onions, celery and carrots. Once potatoes are cooked drain and add them to the ground beef mixture and cook until beef is cooked through and vegetables are softened.
3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and beef broth to the beef and vegetable mixture, sautéing 1 minute longer until spices are fragrant. Add peas and simmer over medium heat until everything is well incorporated and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide it into 10 equal parts—roughly 2.2 ounces each. Roll each piece of dough very thin on a lightly floured surface until you have a circle roughly 7 inches wide. Working with one prepared dough at a time, add a heaping 1/3 cup of filling onto one side of the dough.
5. Wet a pastry brush with egg wash and dampen the inside 1/4 inch edge of the filled dough. Fold the dough in half. Using a fork, firmly press the edges together. Repeat this process with remaining dough and filling and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Preheat oven to 375 F and place rack into the center of the oven.
7. In a small bowl mix together an egg with 1tablespoon water, brush each empanada with egg wash until coated. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.