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Posts Tagged ‘Turkish’

Circassian chicken

We’re not sure if we would would have ever made this except for having a load of walnuts and red peppers that needed used. Definitely one of the most interesting dishes we’ve cooked this year. We’ve had it warm and also cold; as a side dish and in a floury bap for lunch; a tasty starter and a midnight snack. Delicious every time.

Wine Suggestion: If you decide to eat this warm or cold you need the spice a red wine gives and a chill for freshness and vitality; 30 minutes in the fridge is sufficient, so chilled, not freezing! We’d recommend either a Spanish red, the Jesus Romero Rubus, a rarity from Teruel in Aragon or if you’d like to push the boat out Laurent Combier’s Cap Nord, one of the best Crozes-Hermitage we’ve tried in a long while. The link between these is Syrah, so if you find another one you like try chilling this and giving it a go with this dish.

Circassian Chicken – serves 3-4

  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 200g walnuts halves
  • 1 slice stale white bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • small handful of coriander, chopped

FOR THE PEPPER DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste/½ tsp sweet paprika & ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

Put the chicken stock into a large pot with the chicken breasts. Bring to the boil, then simmer and poach for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Blitz 150g of the walnuts in a food processor to make a powder, then add the breadcrumbs and garlic with enough of the poaching stock to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until combined.

Pull the cooked chicken into long pieces and combine with the walnut sauce and chopped coriander. Drizzle with the red pepper dressing and decorate with the reserved walnuts.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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Red pepper paste

This red pepper paste is used in loads of Turkish dishes. It’s a very useful paste to have in the fridge and is particular good on a pizza instead of tomato sauce. You can buy Turkish pepper paste in specialist shops but it’s very easy to make and will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Turkish Red Pepper Paste

  • 660g red peppers
  • 50g tomato purée
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 30ml olive oil

Roast the peppers for about 30 minutes at 220ºC/gas 7 until charred & soft. Put in a bowl and cover with cling film, then leave until cool enough to peel. Remove the charred skins, stalks and seeds. Blitz the roasted peppers with the other ingredients in a blender. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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Turkish carrots with lentils & herbs

We seem to permanently have a half-empty bag of carrots in the bottom of the fridge. This side dish puts them to excellent use and any leftovers are perfect for lunchboxes.

Turkish Carrots & Lentils with Herbs – serves 4-6 as a side dish

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ¼-½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g green or Puy lentils
  • 6 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 275ml vegetable stock/water
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint, parsley or dill
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Then add everything else except the herbs, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

Bring to the boil and cook until the carrots are tender and the liquid has been absorbed – about 30 minutes.

Taste, add the herbs and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add a generous slug of extra-virgin olive oil and serve warm, hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Kofte kebab

This Turkish kebab dish, from Claudia Roden’s wonderful book Arabesque, is very simple to make but you need to be organised and assemble the dish at the last minute so the layer of crunchy pitta bread at the bottom of the dish stays crisp. Claudia’s tips are to serve the tomato sauce and meat very hot but the yoghurt at room temperature.

Yogurtlu Köfte Kebabi or Turkish Kofte Kebab with Tomato Sauce & Yoghurt – serves 4

  • 2 pitta breads
  • 750g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac plus an extra pinch
  • 500g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp pine nuts

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 750g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (if it’s not tomato season use the equivalent of good quality tinned tomatoes instead)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar

Start with the tomato sauce. Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and chilli pepper, and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and sugar, and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they soften.

Open out the pitta breads, toast until crisp, then break into small pieces with your hands.

Next make the kofte kebabs. Season the mince with salt and pepper, and use your hands to work into a soft dough. Add the onion and parsley and work into the meat. Shape into sausages, about 2cm thick and 7cm long. Arrange on an oiled sheet of foil on a baking sheet and cook for about 8 minutes under a pre-heated grill, turning once, until well browned but still pink and moist on the inside. Or if you prefer (as we do) you can grill on a barbecue.

Spread the toasted pitta pieces over the bottom of your serving dish and sprinkle over a pinch of sumac. Pour the hot tomato sauce all over and top with a layer of yoghurt beaten with a fork.

Heat the butter or oil with the pine nuts and stir in the teaspoon of sumac. When the butter or oil sizzles, sprinkle all over the yoghurt, arrange the meat on top and serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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This dish was divine.  The moist chicken pieces perfectly match the pilaf with the whole combination epitomising Turkish cuisine – sitting comfortably on the European / Middle East divide. Try to find the sumac as it gives the dish an authentic sharp lemony tang.

Wine Suggestion: Look for a good quality Albariño or Godello from Spain that has seen a small amount of oak for structure. These will provide a good balance of citrus/zestiness, medium body and tangy minerality to complement the chicken and sumac.

Sautéed Chicken with Tomato Pilfaf – to serve 4

  • 4 chicken fillets, breast or thigh, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 35g butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • lemon quarters or sumac to garnish

FOR THE TOMATO PILAF 

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 75g butter, cut into small cubes

Make the pilaf first. Pour cold water over the rice and leave to soak in a bowl for a few minutes, then strain and rinse under cold water.

Quarter the tomatoes, remove the core, then liquefy in a food processor. Add enough water to the tomato juice to make it up to 650ml. Pour into a pan, add the crumbled stock cube, the sugar and some salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

Add the rice and stir well. Simmer, covered, over a low heat, for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Don’t be tempted to stir it during this time but you can add a bit more water if it looks dry. Fold in the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Sprinkle the chicken with the parsley and serve with lemon quarters or sprinkle with sumac, along with the rice.

(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Penguin 2005.)

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