September 20, 2003

Vaguely Turkish Ground Lamb with Tomato-Yogurt Sauce

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2--4 garlic cloves (depending on your fondness for garlic and degree of rapport with dinner companions), minced
1.5-2lb ground lamb
Red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped very fine (or run through a food processor)
1 tablespoon fresh dill (optional)

5--6 small tomatoes (Roma work well), cut into quarters
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
3 sweet bell peppers, seeded and chopped into half-inch squares
1--2 teaspoons dried thyme
1--2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, as above
Red vinegar (or balsamic)

3 small loaves (0.5-0.75 lb) pide bread (see below), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb yogurt

Start the meat first. Heat the oil in a smallish pot and fry the onions and garlic until just brown. Add the lamb, pepper flakes and parsley (and dill, if using), and fry until the lamb is brown and thoroughly cooked.

While the lamb is cooking, arrange the tomato pieces on their backs in a large saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let them sit, until the skin on their backs cooks and blackens just a bit. Then add sweet and chile peppers and the thyme, stirring everything together to make a sauce. Stir and cook for about three minutes. Then add the garlic and parsley and cook for another minute or so. Add the meat mixture and the vinegar --- I normally use three capfuls. Cook at medium to medium-high heat for another five minutes or so.

Arrange the bread cubes in the bottom of a broad serving dish, and spoon the yogurt over them. When the meat is done cooking, spread it evenly over the yogurt. Serve hot; feeds six as the main dish of a larger meal.

A nice wine. Domaine Mireille et Vincent Cotes du Rhône, 1998.

On the bread. Pide is the Turkish name for a Middle Eastern flatbread related to pita, but much fluffier and thicker. Middle Eastern groceries will often have it. If this were a real cookbook, I would now say "but if you can't buy it, it is easy to prepare at home, see p. 196". On no account turn to page 196! It can only end with a disgusting mess carbonizing in the oven, and your spouse and cat both watching you warily as you mutter darkly into your beer and sullenly munch a hastily-ordered pizza. Much better to cut up a bagette or a loaf of sourdough bread.

General note. This recipe is the end product of several years of (1) being too lazy to properly follow the recipes for Adana Kebap and Yogurtlu Kebap in Ayla Algar's Classical Turkish Cooking and (2) being too forgetful to keep them separate in my mind. Any resemblance to anything actually prepared in Asia Minor at any time since the battle of Manzikert is entirely coincidental.


Posted at September 20, 2003 22:54 | permanent link

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