Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mercimekli Afyon Böreği - Turkish Lentil Mini Pies

Mercimekli Afyon Böreği

Fashioned like an open mouth, these little lentil pies hail from the Afyon Province of Turkey, inland from the Aegean coast. They are traditionally prepared with a butter-rich, homemade crust that requires an overnight's rest before assembly. In the interest of convenience and a lighter calorie load, I have substituted miniature filo shells, readily available from the freezer case of most supermarkets.

While the filling itself can enrich a bowl of broth, their diminutive size makes them perfect to serve as finger food. Dollops of strained yogurt, and mild or hot ajvar, the popular Balkan/Turkish red pepper and eggplant paste, along with a few oil-cured olives, are festive and flavorful accompaniments to a tray of mezze that will leave you with your mouth open for more.

Mercimekli Afyon Böreği - Slightly adapted from a recipe in The Turkish Cookbook, Regional Recipes and Stories

Serves 4 as a starter.


1 cup lentils (preferably Puy or Beluga, which hold their shape after cooking)
7 cups water (to be divided for soaking and cooking)
2 large vegetable bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried, crushed Aleppo pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

12 - 16 miniature frozen filo shells, thawed


Soak the lentils overnight in three cups of water. Drain. Add lentils to a large saucepan with 4 cups boiling water and bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately twenty minutes (less time if not using Puy or Beluga) until al dente. Drain, then toss with butter in a large bowl. Reserve.

In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat until shimmering and thin (5-7 seconds). Add minced onion, lowering heat to gently sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lentils, Aleppo pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir and heat through without allowing lentils to brown.

Preheat oven 350 ° F.

Fill filo shells with 1 1/2 teaspoons lentils, mounding them gently. Arrange on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately. --


This recipe is for Heather of Girlichef, host of My Legume Love Affair 45 for the month of March. Heather will have the round-up online very soon. Do stop back to visit. Heather has one of the most stylish and prolific blogs around.

Although my appearances as host of MLLA are infrequent, I do have the pleasure of assuming the duties for April. No joking. ; ) I'll be back tomorrow with the official announcement, as well as the status and particulars of Black and White Wednesdays.


  1. Those are wonderful! I am a big fan of Turkish food and cookery books. Lovely click.



  2. Nice appetizers and absolutely uncommon but trendy :-)
    Can't wait to read your surprising news about BWW! :-)

  3. Cute looking pies . Would be great if you can send in this recipe for the flavors of turkey event that I am hosting this month :)

  4. Phyllo shells are newly available to me where I live in Mexico. I love this idea--very original. My creative juices are working overtime thinking of ways I could play with this using Turkish flavors. Thanks.

  5. I love the sound of these...delicious and beautiful to boot! I know I wouldn't be able to keep my hands off of them. Thank you for having me as a host for MLLA in March =).

  6. I like that it looks simple enough for me to make. I'd love to try it with the hot red pepper and eggplant paste. Yum!

  7. These are so lovely and elegant, and I really appreciate the lighter adaptation: more and more of the people I cook for are showing an appreciation for food which happens to be both healthy and tasty.

  8. The appetizer plate looks really elegant. I am particularly curious about the red dip. Lovely photo.

  9. Such pretty little pies. I love Turkish food but have never come across these before!

  10. I haven't come across these before. They sound and look great.

    I have been fruitlessly trying to locate a Turkish pastry recipe since I was there last September. No luck so far.

  11. I din't think it was possible to make a lentil look so delectable!

  12. these pies look fabulous and healthy

  13. What an interested spin on borek! I love Turkish cuisine but haven't made anything Turkish in a while.. I should remedy that! :)

  14. good to see u back in action, I have tried turkish cigara boregi before, but still find difficulty in handling filo sheets, these shells looks so cute and I bet they will be tasty as well

  15. Those are such beautiful, tiny pies, Susan. Thanks for introducing me to them.

  16. I love working with phyllo, but I have never had those little tarts:) They look awfully cute and perfect for a party:)
    I make ajvar every summer (used to do it in big batches, but now I only make a jar or two). It is a staple in any Serbian home and with a good reason:)
    I hope you have a great week!

  17. These are beautiful! Love little bitesized dishes.
    Glad to see you back. x

  18. Oh, My-does this look divine! Gorgeous photos, as usual!