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Tag Archives | biber salcasi

Baked Chicken Casserole with Vegetables; Firinda Sebzeli Tavuk

Baked Chicken Casserole with Vegetables, Sebzeli firin tavuk

Baked Chicken Casserole with Vegetables, Sebzeli firin tavuk

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.

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Spicy Bulgur Wheat Salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir

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We made Kisir today with the children. We talked about how important it is for us to be able to share and have an access to the recipes from our mothers, grandmothers, and be able to pass on to friends, family and to the next generation. More than being recipes, they really reflect our heritage, culture, traditions and keep the memories alive.

So here comes kisir, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Kisir is a specialty in the southeast of Turkey, from where the country’s spicier dishes hail. It is offered as a welcome to the guests in the homes of Antakya, where my roots are from, and in Gaziantep. Kisir is generally made with nar eksisi (sour pomegranate molasses) instead of lemon juice – though it is common to use lemon juice for Kisir at northwest Turkey. It can be rolled into balls and served nestling in crunchy lettuce leaves. This dish is perfect for buffets or as part of a barbecue spread. It really is a “bowl of health and goodness” with fresh vegetables, bulgur – packed with fiber and pomegranate sauce full of antioxidants.

This wonderful, refreshing can be prepared a couple of days in advance and can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. As a matter of fact, it tastes even better a day or two later it’s made! I hope you can get to try the recipe. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, a good balsamic vinegar and lemon juice also works well in this bulgur wheat salad. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi is used widely in this salad in Southern Turkish cooking; you can always make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

Note: There are two main varieties of bulgur wheat available, fine and coarse bulgur. Fine bulgur is traditionally used in  salads like kisir whereas coarse bulgur is used in pilafs or As as we call it in Antakya. If you can’t get the fine bulgur wheat, you can also make this salad with coarse bulgur, widely available in supermarkets. In that case, use 240ml/8 fl oz hot water for 175gr/6oz coarse bulgur and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, covered.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes

350gr/12oz fine bulgur wheat
240ml/8 fl oz hot water
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
15ml/1 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
5ml / 1 teaspoon pul biber, chili flakes or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
30ml/ 2 tablespoon concentrated sour pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
45ml/3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 green (spring) onions, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
Small bunch of finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
5ml / 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pomegranate seeds to serve (optional)
Lettuce leaves to serve

Mix the bulgur wheat, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes (or paprika or chili flakes), tomato paste, red pepper paste and the chopped onion and knead thoroughly – this will help all the flavors marry and the onion to soften-. Pour the hot water over this mixture and stir, then leave to stand for about 15 minutes. It should absorb all the water by the end of this period. The bulgur should be of a dry consistency.

Add the lemon juice and the pomegranate molasses together with the extra virgin olive oil and knead well again. Stir in the remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Image by Sian Irvine Photography, from Ozlem’s Turkish table cookery book

Serve as a salad in a bowl garnished with pomegranate seeds (if preferred) and  lettuce leaves. Alternatively, take spoonfuls of the mixture and with wet hands roll into balls the size of walnuts. Refrigerate until required.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

New! Ozlem Turkish Table Apron on Sale

I am absolutely delighted to share with you that we also designed this special Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron, just in time for the holiday gift giving season. It is special to my heart, as it is made in Turkey, with my hometown Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the hand embroidered design – this lovely apron would make a wonderful gift for the festive season, you can get yours at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US.

 

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Interview with TRT Radio 1 (Turkish National Radio 1)

It’s been an honor to be interviewed by the Turkish National Radio, TRT Radyo 1, at the Gunebakan Program today, talking about Turkish cuisine abroad. A special moment for me, talking in Turkish, at my homeland’s national radio channel. As we talked during the interview, our  recipes are valuable gateways to share our thousands years of our culinary heritage with the world and pass on to the next generations. Also living abroad, I well know how precious our food is to connect us to our homeland, our memories and bring our stories to life. It is such a privilege to share my homeland Turkey’s amazing culinary heritage, traditions, recipes, hospitality, through these precious opportunities and  my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. My sincere thanks goes to GB Publishing and Pinar Foods UK for helping me spread the word on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine.
Here is the link to our interview with TRT Radio 1, I hope you enjoy it:

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Homemade red Pepper Paste – Biber Salçası

Summer is the time, where juicy, meaty, red peppers are turned into our flavour packed biber salçası, pepper paste  in southern Turkey. It is a fundamental ingredient in southern Turkish cuisine. In my hometown of Antakya, village women cook huge batches of freshly picked spicy and mild red peppers and spread them out on top of their cloth covered terraces to dry under the hot summer sun, until the peppers dehydrate and turn into this robust, flavour-packed condiment.  I am unable to sun dry my peppers as I live abroad, so I make my own version of red pepper paste at home, cooking them over stove top. It takes a bit of time to make but really is worth it. The homemade version is fragrant, delicious – not as intense as the commercial ones but packed with flavour; fantastic even spread over bread.  Add more chilies if you like it spicier, it also freezes well.

I use pepper paste in so many ways, in the way I use tomato paste; it adds  richess, enhances and adds depth of flavour to sauces, salads such as Spicy bulgur wheat salad, Kisir, marinades, dips such as Muhammara.

Here is how I make red pepper paste. It is also at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, signed copies available here

Makes 90ml/3fl oz pepper paste

3 long, large red peppers or bell peppers, cleaned, deseeded, cut into 4cmx4cm chunks
1 red chilli pepper, deseeded, finely chopped (use a few more if you like spicier)
240ml/8fl oz water
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Place peppers in a wide pan and add the water. Cook over a medium heat, stirring often for about 35 minutes or until the peppers are cooked – gently press down and turn around as you stir, they will start to break apart and soften and the liquid has almost evaporated. Turn the heat off and allow the peppers to cool.

Place the cooked peppers in a food processor and process until the mixture is almost a smooth purée (I like the texture of small bits of peppers in it). Return the puréed peppers to the pan. Season with salt and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring continuously so the purée doesn’t burn and the juices will have evaporated. The purée will shrink half of its size and turn into a soft paste. Turn the heat off.

Spoon the paste into a small sterilized glass jar while still warm, top with olive oil and seal.  When cool, keep your prepared paste in the fridge and use within two weeks.

Afiyet Olsun.

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