Ground beef and potato pie with phyllo is a baked pastry with a filling, similar to the recent spinach pie. Pies (pite, sing. pita) are a group of filled pastries integral to Balkan cuisine. Ground beef and potato pie is an old favorite, and since we’ll be using phyllo from the box, it can be on your table in one hour.
Šareni burek is my favorite pie. All it really is, is a filling made of meat and potatoes, baked in phyllo. To simplify, it’s a meal wrapped in dough.
Balkan pies taste best with homemade phyllo. Phyllo from scratch is intimidating at first. What you need to do are baby steps. Some training wheels of sorts. Start with phyllo from the box. The pie won’t be the same in taste to pies made from scratch, but it’ll be pretty damn similar.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, pies are called based on their filling.
Krompiruša is a potato pie, zeljanica is a spinach pie, while burek is a meat pie.
Šareni burek is translated as mixed or colorful meat pie, due to the potatoes added to the meat.
Regionally, to great dismay of everyone in BiH, people call all type of pies burek. They say burek with spinach, or burek with potatoes, or the worst offender, burek with cheese which is really sirnica or cheese pie.
Just remember is if you go to Bosnia, burek is a meat pie only. If you order burek and expect it to come with anything else you’ll piss a lot of people off. So, when in Bosnia and you hear burek, think meat.
This naming is probably a moot point for you. I get it. But people get territorial about this issue. Recently a lady from Croatia ordered burek with cheese in Sarajevo, and she got round of a burek (with meat of course) cut in half and a slice of cheese on the side.
Things to remember when making this ground beef and potato pie is to ensure your baking pan is about the same length as the phyllo to prevent having to cut for fitting. I layered this ground beef and potato pie in a different way than the spinach pie to give you more ideas about what pies can look like.
Keep the pie in the fridge for a few days if you’d like, and then warm up before eating. Don’t keep this specific pie in the fridge for too long, as potatoes are no good overnight. (And definitely do not freeze any pie with potatoes.)
These are great to take to work or school. My friend Sylvia loves making a few pans to take with her family when camping in wild lands of Colorado.
- 1 onion (large, diced or minced)
- 1 pound potatoes (peeled, diced into small squares)
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ tablespoon pepper
- ½ tablespoon salt
- (Or 1 tablespoon vegeta instead of salt)
- 1 pound phyllo dough (usually 1 box, about 18-22 sheets)
- Oil (canola or vegetable, preferably in spray format)
- ½ to 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a large bowl combine onion, potatoes, ground beef, 1 tablespoon of oil, and seasonings. Integrate all ingredients well, and set aside. Heat oven to 490°F.
- Spread a kitchen towel on your working area. Take phyllo out of the box and unwrap. Take one sheet of phyllo, spread it on the kitchen towel and generously spray (or brush) with oil. Add another phyllo sheet directly on top of the first and oil again. Grab a handful or two of the filling and spread a line of it (the thickness of two thumbs) on one of the longer ends of stacked phyllo sheets. Roll the filling and phyllo up like a cigar. Spray (or brush) a dash of oil on the top of the rolled, filled sheets, and place in an oiled baking pan.
- Repeat the previous step until you run out of phyllo and filling. (Place the rolls tightly next to each other in the pan.)
- Bake on medium rack for 25-30 minutes. The pie will start blushing after about 20 minutes so cover it with foil at that point.
- Few minutes before the pie is baked, melt butter in milk over low heat. When the pie is finished, spray it with milk and butter. Turn the oven off and return pie in for another 5-10 minutes.
- Cut the pie perpendicularly to end up with a few columns of the pie.