By the time Sukkot arrives, and we are three weeks into nonstop Jewish holiday mode, some people might be a little tired of cooking. I don’t blame those people one bit. But Sukkot is probably my favorite holiday of the season to cook for – I love sitting outdoors in the brisk autumn air, enjoying harvest-inspired dishes with friends and family.
This dish is both (pretty) easy and totally unique and delish. The husband, who is by far my harshest critic, was in love with this recipe and begged for me to make another batch.
Burekas are an easy appetizer to throw together using store-bought puff pastry. If you don’t like ground lamb, substitute ground beef. You can also make a vegetarian version by using tofu or feta cheese with the squash. You can make burekas ahead, freezing them once they are assembled, but before the egg wash.
Before the holiday or when ready to bake, glaze with egg wash and pop in the oven per directions below. They also reheat well in the oven at a low temperature and can even be served at room temperature.
Spiced Lamb and Butternut Squash Burekas
2 sheets store-bought puff pastry, left to thaw at room temperature around 30 minutes
½ lb ground lamb
2 cups cooked pureed or mashed butternut squash (can also use sweet potato or frozen butternut squash)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
1 egg beaten for glaze
Sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds (optional)
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add spices to pan and cook until toasted, around 1 minute. Add ground lamb and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon as you cook. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Combine butternut squash and lamb mixture in a medium bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry. Cut each sheet into 9 even squares. Using a rolling pin, roll out each square slightly.
Scoop one heaping tablespoon into the corner of each square. Fold puff pastry over filling, forming a triangle.
Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges.
Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry.
Brush each bureka with beaten egg. Top with sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds if desired.
Bake 18-22 minutes, until golden on top.
Pronounced: sue-KOTE, or SOOH-kuss (oo as in book), Origin: Hebrew, a harvest festival in which Jews eat inside temporary huts, falls in the Jewish month of Tishrei, which usually coincides with September or October.