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Stinging Nettle and Lamb Börek #SundayFunday

Today the Sunday Funday group is cooking with lamb. Thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm for coordinating this low-stress group. 

Today Stacy is hosting the Sunday Funday bloggers as we cook with lamb. She wrote: "Spring lamb is one of the traditional main dishes for Easter but let's not limit ourselves to roasts. Share your favorite recipes with lamb, be they curries or burgers, slow cooked shoulder or roasted legs. Any recipe featuring lamb as the main ingredient." Here's the lamb line-up...

Lamb Dish Parade

Stinging Nettles
If you've been reading my blog regularly, you'll know how I often end up with less than usual ingredients. And you can hop on over to my post A Little Kitchen Witchery and Stinging Nettle Risotto to see why I had stinging nettles to use. For some reason I never posted this recipe way back then, so I knew this was the perfect time to share it. Stinging nettles and lamb?! Yep. That sounded like the perfect Sunday Funday recipe.

I have to chuckle with an exchange I had online with friend who is now an adult but used to babysit my boys when he was a teenager. Regarding my peanut gallery not thinking they should be eating something that required gloves to touch, he quipped,  "I think the peanut gallery has an excellent point." Shhh....

Then, knowing how much he despises squash, I asked if he would rather take his chances with the nettles or eat squash. Surprisingly, he answered: "Oh, give me squash 10/10 times. I’m still traumatized by the nettles we had in our backyard as a kid." I promised I wasn't laughing at him. I lied. But that's a story for another day.

So, with more nettles to use. I decided to wilt them, like spinach, and use them in a version of Börek.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 2 to 3 cups fresh stinging nettles (if you don't have stinging nettles, use spinach)
  • water
  • ice
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or other meat)
  • 1 organic white onion, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • freshly ground salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 12 pieces phyllo dough cut in half lengthwise to make 24 sheets approximately 8" x 12"
  • melted butter for rolling


Stinging Nettles
I like to use a pot with a removable strainer to make draining it quick and easy. Fill pot - with strainer nestled inside - with water and bring to a boil. Place ice in a mixing bowl and pour in 2 cups cold water.

In the meantime, pluck the leaves from the stems with gloved hands. Once you have 3 to 3 cups of nettle leaves, submerge them in the boiling water until they are wilted and have turned a brilliant emerald green, approximately 30 seconds. Remove the strainer and plunge the leaves into the ice water bath. They can stay in there as long as you need. Drain the leaves and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add in the onion. Cook until the onion is softened and beginning to turn translucent. Crumble in the ground meat, season with cumin, and cook until browned through. Fold in the herbs and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have softened a little. Then stir in the cooked nettles.

Turn the meat mixture into a colander and drain out the fat; you want the meat as dry as possible for the börek or the dough will get soggy.

Stir in the feta cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.

While you're working with the phyllo, keep them covered with a damp kitchen towel as they dry out very quickly.

Place three sheets of phyllo on a flat surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the lamb mixture on the short side of the rectangle in a strip that's about 2" wide. Brush the edges of the phyllo with melted butter, then fold in the edges and roll as tightly as you can without breaking the dough. Place the börek on a lightly buttered baking sheet.

 Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat until the tray is full or the filling gone.

Once all the rolls are ready, place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes. The phyllo should be golden brown and crisp.

We served these with a crisp green salad and a red wine.

That's a wrap  for our #SundayFunday chile fest. We'll be back next week as Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm leads us in a round-up of ways to use Easter leftover recipes. I love repurposing leftovers, so I'm  excited to get some new-to-me recipes. Can't wait!


  1. I have never heard of borek. Greek egg rolls...they sound delicious even with the stinging nettles LOL.

  2. I wouldn't even know where to start sourcing stinging nettles here but there's an abundance growing wild where we have a home in the Channel Islands. I had no idea they were edible! For now, I'll have to try your tasty borek with spinach. I especially love the crunchy golden phyllo outsides!

  3. I think I'll go with the spinach! Phyllo has always been my nemesis so I'll tackle that first!

  4. I have childhood stinging nettle trauma too - I'm not sure I could get past that either LOL! BUT I would definitely make this with spinach - it sounds delicious!!


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