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Tag Archives | potatoes

Casserole of Turkish Meatballs with Aubergine, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Peppers – Sebzeli Firin Kofte

There is a concept of “lokanta” restaurants at home, where slowly cooked and ready to eat casseroles of meatballs and vegetables, vegetables cooked in olive oil, stuffed vegetables and many more are displayed on serving trays. The idea is you get a chance to eat freshly cooked  “home style” dinners in a restaurant in no time; you simply pick up your tray and fill in your plate with these scrumptious food and they are very good value too. There is no waiting, and you can have a healthy, delicious meal within 30 minutes. Please check out my previous post Slow Cooked Turkish Fast Food for more delicious, affordable and healthy ways of eating out in Turkey.

Pre-cooked delicious casseroles, pilaffs, vegetables cooked in olive oil; all ready to eat

This week’s recipe is an all-in-one pot popular meatball and vegetable casserole (not only with the children but with the adults too!), one of the many you can experience at lokantas, in Turkey. It is delicious, healthy and you can easily re-create at home. The casserole can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven, and you can bake ahead of time. It makes a complete and hearty main course served with plain rice or with my recent bulgur pilaf with sautéed almonds. I like to add a variety of seasonal vegetables to my meatballs casserole; zucchini (courgettes) and peas work well here too. You can add as much red pepper flakes as you would like for a spicier flavor.

Casserole of Turkish meatballs and vegetables; a favorite for all

We use red pepper paste, biber salcasi, a lot especially at the Southern Turkey; this concentrated paste of spicy red peppers from home gives a wonderfully rich and spicy flavor to the dishes. You can get red pepper paste in most Middle Eastern or specialty stores these days. If you would like to have a go on making your own, here is my red pepper paste recipe.

Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi; you can make at home too.

I usually double this casserole recipe and freeze half the portion, as it freezes very well.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time – 30 minutes          Cooking time – 40-45 minutes

For the kofte (meatballs):

450 gr /1 lb ground lamb, beef or mixture

1 medium onion, grated

2 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry

1 egg, beaten

1 bunch finely chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

A bowl of water for kneading kofte / wetting hands

 And the rest:

450 gr / 1 lb medium potatoes, sliced like thin apple quadrants

1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 medium carrot, coarsely sliced

1 aubergine, cut in half lengthways and sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon red pepper paste -optional-

1 tablespoon olive oil

240 ml / 1 cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

 

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F

 

Ingredients for the Turkish meatballs

Discard the crusts of the bread, soak in the water and squeeze dry. Then crumble them into a large bowl. Add all the kofte, meatballs ingredients except the meat and knead well. This will soften the onions and enable the spices to blend in the mixture evenly. Add the ground meat and knead well again until the mixture resembles soft dough. With wet hands take a piece the size of a large walnut and roll into a large finger shape about 1 inch thick. Continue until all the mixture is used. The meatballs can now be covered and stored in the fridge until required.

Salt helps the moisture to come out of the eggplants; make sure you drain these bitter juices

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplant (aubergine) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplant lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Then cut each slice into three parts. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel.

Coat the vegetables with olive oil, red pepper paste or with tomato paste and red pepper flakes

In an oven dish, spread the vegetables. I like to coat the vegetables with the red pepper paste, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the vegetables and make sure they all get this lovely coating (if you like a milder taste, you can replace the red pepper paste with concentrated tomato paste, and add more red pepper flakes for a spicy flavor). Place the meatballs between the vegetables. Add the chopped tomatoes and water, mix well. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.

Baked Turkish meatballs with eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes; an all in one delicious dish

Baked Turkish meatballs with eggplants, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes; an all in one delicious dish

Serve hot, with plain rice or bulgur pilaf with almonds by the side.

Have you ever tried our traditional drink Ayran? Ayran is a mixture of plain natural yoghurt, water and a pinch of salt blended together. To make ayran, blend 2 cups of plain yoghurt with 3/4 cup water with a pinch of salt, for about 20 seconds. You will see a nice thick foam and bubbles formed at the top. Serve in water glasses with a few ice cubes in them. Ayran is a popular drink at home, especially with kebabs and casseroles, and it would go well with this casserole too.

Wonderfully foamy and bubbly Ayran; our traditional drink with kebabs and casseroles.

Have you ever tried Ayran? Have you had any experience at eating in lokantas in Turkey?  I would love to hear from you, please share with us, thank you.

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

 

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Leftovers Supper – Eggs with Potatoes, Bell Peppers and Spring Onions – Patatesli, Biberli Sahan Yumurta

Do you do leftovers suppers? We do it quite often and must say I really enjoy it. Not only you finish up all the bits and bobs remaining, but also it is easy to prepare and can turn to delicious suppers. I usually have a few boiled leftover potatoes, the odd bell pepper or courgette (zucchini) waiting for their turn to be finished. And me being an egg lover, vegetables usually end up marrying with eggs.

This supper is super easy to prepare and you can use any vegetable in your fridge that needs finishing; mushroom, onions, peppers, courgettes all work very well. I especially love to add potato and sprinkle some cumin over them; the light smoky flavor of cumin is magical on sautéed potatoes, combined with eggs. Another good example of how you can add wonderful flavors to dishes using spices. With some green salad (or garlicky yoghurt) and crusty bread by the side, this is quite a perfect leftovers dinner for me or a lovely brunch treat.

Patatesli, kirmizi biberli yumurta-OTT

Eggs with potatoes, bell peppers and spring onions; a little cumin and red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor here.

 
Serves 1-2
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 8 minutes

2 free range medium eggs
1/4 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 spring (green) onions, coarsely chopped
1-2 small boiled potatoes, coarsely chopped
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Green Salad (of lettuce, cucumbers, radishes and anything else you fancy) to serve by the side
Fresh crusty bread to serve by the side

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the chopped boiled potatoes and bell peppers. Sprinkle half of the ground cumin and red pepper flakes over them and season with salt and black pepper. Stir and sauté for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat and let the spices infuse on the vegetables. Stir in the spring (green) onions and cook for another minute.


Create two holes in the pan with sautéed vegetables around and crack the eggs there. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until the egg white is set and egg yolk is still runny (you can cook a little more if you like your eggs well done). Sprinkle the left over cumin and red pepper flakes over the eggs, and season with salt and pepper.

How about serving this lovely leftovers supper with some fresh green salad? Just coarsely chop the lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes (or any salad needs finishing in your fridge!), drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon over, season with salt and pepper. You are ready to go!

Serve the eggs hot with green salad and some crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Patties with Potato, Bulgur, Onion and Parsley – Patatesli, Bulgurlu Kofte

Bulgur and potato patties, bulgurlu, patatesli kofte; delicious to dip into sauces

Bulgur and potato patties, bulgurlu, patatesli kofte; delicious to dip into sauces

These patties are healthy, moist, easy to make and delicious; you just can’t stop eating them. They look similar to the bulgur and lentil patties I made previously(recipe in the blog, under appetizers and mezes), they have a different texture though, softer and more moist.You can serve them as a starter meze on a bed of lettuce leaves to wrap, or with bowl of olive oil and pomegranate molasses (or some sharp balsamic vinegar) by the side to dip in. In South Turkey, it is common to dip these patties to the sauce of stew and casseroles. I recently served them by the side of the aubergine, shallots and meat stew and they went down very well, disappeared very quickly 🙂

You can prepare them a day in advance, the flavors get even better the next day.  Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, add a wonderful flavor to the patties; you can make your own hot pepper paste here , if you like. Add more red pepper flakes if you like it more spicy.

Serves 8 -10
Preparation time : 15-20 minutes Cooking time : 25 minutes

175gr/6oz/1 cup bulgur, rinsed and drained
4 medium potatoes, skinned and quartered
45-60ml/3-4 tablespoon olive oil
3 spring onions, finely chopped
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
1 – 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon/10ml ground cumin
8fl oz/ 1 cup hot water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Bowl of cold water to wet your hands

Extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses (or sharp balsamic vinegar) to serve

In a large bowl, combine the bulgur, red pepper paste, biber salcasi (or red pepper flakes) and spring onion, mix well with using your hands. This will help the paste or the spice to really blend in with the bulgur and the spring onions. Add the hot water on the mixture and give a good stir. Leave it aside for about 15 minutes and stir once in a while so that all the water would be absorbed.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked, drain the water. Mash the potatoes in a separate bowl with cumin. Add the olive oil, salt and ground pepper and knead the potatoes with your hands really well, until they are smooth and elastic. Stir in the potatoes with the bulgur mixture, and add the parsley, mix well with your hands. Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed. Have the bowl of water ready by your side. Wet your hands with the water and take a walnut size from the mixture and shape like patties using your hands. Place them side by side on a serving dish.

Put some extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses (or sharp balsamic vinegar) on a small bowl and serve the patties with them for dipping. The patties are also wonderful served on a bed of lettuce leaves.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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