Moroccan Kefta and Bell Pepper Briouats (Ground Meat and Bell Pepper Pastries)

Why It Works

  • Cooling the filling before forming the briouats ensures the delicate pastry doesn’t break or tear.  
  • Covering the unused phyllo pastry sheets with a damp towel during assembly keeps them from drying out and becoming brittle.

In Morocco, briouats (or briwats) are triangle-shaped stuffed pastries with savory or sweet fillings such as minced meat or almond paste. They are traditionally made with a Moroccan pastry called warqua, which translates into “paper” in English and refers to the dough’s paper-thin texture. In Morocco, warqua sheets are usually sold in the souk and rarely made at home.

The best alternative to warqua is phyllo pastry. Phyllo is usually just as thin as warqua; the main difference between the two is the way they are prepared before being used. Phyllo pastry is completely raw before cooking, while warqua is lightly cooked to hold its shape. As a result, phyllo is slightly less robust but, when handled with care, still makes a fine substitute.

The savory filling for these briouats consists of ground beef, onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, ground cumin, and sweet paprika. This particular combination of ingredients and spices is very common in Moroccan cuisine, including salads or tagines.

Caramelized onions and red bell peppers lend sweetness to these briouats, while an assortment of fragrant spices—paprika, cumin, coriander—provide an additional layer of flavor. Serve them as a starter with a green salad on the side or as a finger food for parties. Though the harissa and mayonnaise sauce is optional, I recommend it if you’d like to have a spicy dip for your briouats.