Swiss chard and kashkaval bourekas are a delicious savory Middle Eastern pastry. The filling is made of greens and cheese that are encased in a puff pastry crust and rolled into beautiful spiral shapes.
I’ve reached the stage in quarantine where it feels socially (and emotionally) appropriate to make extra large versions of my favorite hors d’oeuvres and call them dinner.
Don’t lie, you know that sounds freaking fabulous.
Especially since these chard and kashkaval bourekas are somehow the hors d’oeuvre I never knew I always wanted. They taste so familiar, yet I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like them before.
Let’s break it down.
Chard and spinach (the stems AND the leaves!) get sauteed down with onions, garlic, and tomato until wilted. They’re seasoned with a pinch of red pepper flakes and lemon juice for brightness, then stuffed into a puff pastry crust along with kashkaval cheese. If you’ve never had kashkaval, it’s basically like super melty string cheese. No worries if you can’t find it, you can totally substitute it with mozzarella (the drier Polly-o kind, not the fresh kind). After being stuffed, the pastry gets rolled into beautiful shells that make for the perfect indulgent lunch or dinner. Or you can totally make mini versions and serve them as appetizers! I just can’t promise they’ll be as visually (or emotionally) satisfying.
- 1 bunch (about 10 stems) rainbow chard
- 3½ oz (100 g) spinach
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ tomato, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- zest and juice of ½ lemon
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 lb all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
- 1⅓ cups (150 g) kashkaval cheese, grated
- Separate the chard stems from the chard leaves. Trim the bottoms of the stems and then cut the remaining stems in half crosswise. Thinly slice into matchsticks. Stack the swiss chard leaves on top of each other and cut them into 1-inch ribbons. Do the same with the spinach leaves.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Saute until the tomatoes start to break down, about 3 minutes. Add in half the chard leaves and stir until they start to wilt, then add in the remaining chard leaves. Do the same with the spinach leaves. Once all the greens are wilted, stir in the lemon juice and the salt. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
- Place the cooled filling in a fine mesh sieve and lightly push down on it to squeeze out any extra liquid. Set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg and the water, along with a pinch of salt, to make an egg wash. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 20 x 12 inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Cut it into 5 equal strips, about 4 inches wide. Brush each strip with the egg wash and then spoon about ½ cup of the chard filling down the center of each strip. Top the vegetables with the kashkaval cheese.
- Fold the right side of each strip over the filling to meet the left side. Push the edges together to seal. Turn each strip over so that the seam side is down. Shape each into a spiral and then place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 400F.
- Brush the bourekas with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.