In Turkey, we use a lot of fresh vegetables – usage of frozen vegetable and fruit is minimal. With this abundance, you can create endless casseroles with adding meat or keeping it vegetarian.
This recipe appears a lot in our home; it is so easy to make, healthy and very delicious too. You can add or replace your favorite vegetables of the season; peas, eggplants and zucchini work well too. I like to double the recipe and freeze the half, as it freezes so well. You can make it a complete meal with plain rice a side and a dollop of plain yoghurt.
Please remember; Turkish cooking is all about using fresh produce and flavoring the dishes with artful use of spices. It is wonderfully amazing to see that you can have healthy food without compromising the taste, thanks to the spices. Make your casserole as fiery as you would like with more red pepper flakes! Afiyet Olsun!
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
450 gr/1 lb chicken breasts(cut in chunks) and thighs
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
450 gr/1 lb potatoes, cut in half and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon red pepper paste (or tomato paste)
45 ml/3 tablespoons olive oil
400 gr/14 oz can chopped tomato
240 ml/8 oz/1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon (or more!) red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 C/350F/Gas mark 4
In your casserole dish marinate the vegetables with olive oil, chopped tomatoes, red pepper paste (or tomato paste), salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Make sure all the vegetables are well coated with the olive oil, paste and spices using your hands.
Add the meat and blend well with the marinated vegetables. You can add a little more pinch of salt if you like. Cover and let the flavors blend for about 15 minutes in the fridge.
Add the water to the marination, mix well. Bake in the oven uncovered. Half way through baking (after about 20 minutes), take the casserole out of the oven and give a gentle mix; this will give a chance for the vegetables and the meat to golden brown evenly. Put the casserole back in the oven and cook for further 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown on top.
Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of natural plain yoghurt by the side.
Tips: You can marinate the meat with the vegetables in the morning or even a day in advance; cover and leave it in the fridge for the flavors to blend even more.