This is a lovely, comforting meal that my mother used to cook for us almost weekly in Istanbul. It is very easy to make, delicious and healthy. I like to serve it with plain rice with a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side. I usually make it ahead of time during the day and give a gentle reheat before we eat – knowing the dinner is ready in between the school run is a good feeling! This dish also freezes well.
You can add any seasonal vegetables to this dish, squash, celeriac, sweet potatoes, peas work well too. I add a can of cooked chickpeas here, which makes it more substantial and adds another layer of flavour and texture. Omit meat for the vegetarian option; you can use chopped mushroom here as a meat substitute.
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Serves 4 -6
450 gr/ 1 lb Courgette/Zucchini, sliced (if large, please cut length ways and slice)
250 gr / 9 oz ground lamb or beef
110 gr / 4 oz potatoes cut into bite size chunks
110 gr/ 4 oz carrots, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon tomato puree
400 gr/ 14oz chopped tomatoes in tomato juice (1 can/tin)
400 gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz / 1 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
10ml/2 teaspoons Turkish pul biber / red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 200C/400F
Spread the sliced courgette, carrots and potatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper and combine well. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Then take the tray out and bring the oven temperature to 180C/350F.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the ground/minced meat and saute for further 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes in can and the water, mixing well. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and the red pepper flakes, pul biber giving a gentle stir. Season with salt and pepper and cook further 5 minutes over medium heat.
Place the par baked courgettes, carrots and potatoes on a baking dish. Stir in the meat sauce and gently combine well. Bake for further 25 – 30 minutes.
Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.