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Tag Archives | healthy Turkish casseroles

Chicken and Vegetable Bake in Pomegranate Molasses; Eksili Tavuk

Chicken and vegetables bake in pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce; Eksili Tavuk

Chicken and vegetables bake in pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce; Eksili Tavuk

Inspiration for this delicious, gluten-free recipe, Eksili Tavuk; Chicken in lemon and pomegranate molasses sauce with vegetables, came from dear Janet, who is part of the wonderful blog, Archers of Okcular. Janet and Alan have been enjoying Eksili Tavuk, traditionally made with the delicious whole chicken from the villages nearby; I can just imagine how tasty that chicken must be. She asked me the recipe and so glad she did. After some research, I came up with my version of Eksili Tavuk, using some seasonal vegetables like celeriac and chard in it. We greatly enjoyed this dish and I owe a big thanks to Janet!

Marinating the chicken in pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste, garlic and spices add a lot of flavor.

Marinating the chicken in pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste, garlic and spices add a lot of flavor.

Traditional Eksili Tavuk in the Aegean Region is made with cooking a whole chicken in plenty of water and adding vegetables like potato, carrots and onions to it, as well as the lemon sauce. I have seen flour being used in the broth to thicken the sauce; it is a delicious dish. I have used chicken breast in my version and added celeriac and chard to the vegetable mix. I have also added pomegranate molasses in the sauce; celeriac especially has been a perfect pair to the chicken in the tangy lemon and pomegranate sauce; the sweet and savory flavors really complemented one another very well (Pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi is widely used especially in southern Turkish cooking and add great flavor to salads, mezzes, stews. You can make your own pomegranate molasses with my recipe here, if you’d like). Marinating the chicken in cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, biber salcasi (if used), lemon juice and pomegranate molasses really worth the effort, add a delicious flavor to the chicken.

I baked my eksili tavuk; chicken with vegetables in pomegranate and lemon juice sauce, in the oven. It turned out to be an easy, wholesome and delicious all in one pot dish that we loved and will be revisiting often. Many thanks for the inspiration, Janet, hope you all enjoy it!

Eksili Tavuk; baked chicken and vegetables in lemon and pomegranate sauce

Eksili Tavuk; baked chicken and vegetables in lemon and pomegranate sauce

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and Vegetable Bake in Pomegranate Molasses; Eksili Tavuk
 
An easy, wholesome and delicious all in one pot chicken and vegetables bake with pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce, inspired by the Agean region's Eksili Tavuk. Celeriac especially here really worked well with the sweet & savory pomegranate molasses; a wonderful dish we loved and will be revisiting often. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy & gluten-free chicken and vegetable casserole
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 ¼ lb. chicken breast or boneless thighs, skinned
  • 175 gr/ 6 oz. chard, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 small carrots, quartered and sliced in small chunks
  • 1 small celeriac root, cut in small, chunky strips (about 4 cm log, 1 cm wide)
  • 2 onions, quartered and sliced thinly
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. concentrated tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional)
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 30 ml/ 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1.2 liters/2 pints/5 cups water
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
  2. Cut the chicken into small chunks and place in a large bowl.
  3. Marinate the chicken in cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if used), lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well so that all the ingredients coat the chicken pieces. Cover and keep in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables. Cut the outer skin of celeriac root and slice in chunky strips. Rub the celeriac with 1 tbsp. lemon juice to avoid discoloring.
  5. Combine the celeriac with the other vegetables chopped, except chard, in a baking dish. Add the 2 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and ground black pepper and mix well.
  6. Stir in the marinated chicken to the vegetables mixture and combine well.
  7. Pour in the1.2 liters/2 pints/5 cups water and mix well.
  8. Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes, stir in the chopped chard to the mixture and give a good stir. Cover and bake 10 -15 minutes more, until the chard is tender and chicken is cooked.
  10. Serve hot with crusty bread aside.
 

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Tavuk Guvec; Turkish Chicken and Vegetable Stew in Earthenware Pot

Turkish chicken and vegetable stew in earthenware pot; Tavuk Guvec

Turkish chicken and vegetable stew in earthenware pot; Tavuk Guvec

My parents are visiting from Istanbul and they brought me a wonderful guvec pot, the traditional earthenware pot, that is used for cooking chicken, meat or vegetable based dishes. This is slow cooking at its best; the flavors of the seasonal produce and choice of meat mingle and simmer over 2 hours and the earthenware guvec pot brings out its distinctive flavor. At the end of the cooking you get a delicious, melt-in- the mouth, tender stew of vegetables and meat, so worth the wait.

My treasured guvec pot, earthenware pot, came all the way from Istanbul

My treasured guvec pot, earthenware pot, came all the way from Istanbul

A little history for guvec, excerpted from “The Oxford Companion to Food” by Alan Davidson, kindly shared by My Traveling Joys“Gyuvech is the Bulgarian name for a kind of earthenware casserole or the dish cooked in it. The name comes from the Turkish word güveç, which has the same meaning. The casserole is fairly shallow with a large surface area allowing for maximum evaporation. It comes round or oval. These vessels are found all over the Balkans are used for cooking almost anything of a savory nature, including fish as well as meat, poultry, and game dishes.” In Rural Anatolia, the guvec pots can be sealed and buried in the ashes of the fire to cook slowly overnight. It is also common for the locals in Anatolia to take their guvec pot to be baked at the bakery.

 Layer the vegetables that need longer cooking period towards the bottom of the guvec pot.

Layer the vegetables that need longer cooking period towards the bottom of the guvec pot.

This guvec is a wonderful way to use up any seasonal vegetable you have and the meat of your choice if you like. I used runner beans, eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers, they worked really well. When the tomatoes are in season, you can replace the chopped canned tomatoes with the fresh ones; the flavors will be even more amazing. When cooking in the clay pot, bear in mind to layer the vegetables that need longer cooking period towards the bottom of the pot. Once cooked, turn the heat off and let the Guvec rest in the earthenware pot for 30 minutes. The flavors blend and settle deliciously and the earthenware pot will keep warm for a long time.

Potato and bulgur rolls; delicious dipped into the juices of Tavuk Guvec

Potato and bulgur patties; delicious dipped into the juices of Tavuk Guvec

You may also use the cooked potatoes in this guvec pot to make this delicious Patatesli, bulgur kofte;  potato and bulgur patties We love dipping these rolls into the delicious juices of the guvec. I love the all in one pot casseroles and “tencere yemekleri” in Turkish cuisine; they are wholesome, easy and healthy meals and great for entertaining and many options included at my Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, signed copies available to order at this link.

Delicious Tavuk Guvec, Turkish chicken and vegetable stew in earthenware pot

Delicious Tavuk Guvec, Turkish chicken and vegetable stew in earthenware pot

I hope you enjoy this delicious, tender and healthy guvec  It is a bountiful dish and a great crowd pleaser, the leftovers also freeze well. If you don’t have a clay / earthenware pot, a cast iron casserole dish, a heavy ramekin dish or a heavy based pot like Le Creuset would work too. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the meat. Mushrooms would work really well here instead of meat.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 3 reviews
Tavuk Guvec; Turkish Chicken and Vegetable Stew in Earthenware Pot
 
I hope you enjoy this delicious, tender and healthy Tavuk Guvec, slowly cooked in a traditional earthenware guvec pot. It is a bountiful dish and a great crowd pleaser, the leftovers also freeze well. If you don’t have a clay / earthenware pot, a cast iron casserole dish, a heavy ramekin dish or a heavy based pot like Le Creuset would work too. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the meat. Mushrooms would work really well here instead of meat for a vegetarian version.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Chicken Casserole in Earthenware Pot
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 450gr / 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 3 -4 chunks
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, skinned, quartered
  • 1 green and 1 red bell (or pointy) pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 250 gr fresh runner (or French, dwarf) beans, trimmed and cut in three parts
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), quartered and cut in small chunks
  • 1 can of 400 gr/14 oz. chopped tomatoes
  • 15ml /1 tbsp. red pepper paste (optional)
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 lb. / 4 cups of water
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
  • Red pepper flakes to serve
  • Dollops of plain yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Spread the eggplant slices over a tray and sprinkle salt over them. After 15 minutes, dry the eggplants with paper towel to get rid of its bitter juices.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the pot and stir in chicken pieces and onion. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and red pepper paste and sauté for another 3 minutes.
  4. Now, start layering the vegetables, bearing in mind to layer the vegetables that need longer cooking period towards the bottom of the pan.
  5. Layer the potato slices over the chicken, then the runner beans.
  6. Next layer the bell peppers, courgettes and aubergine.
  7. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and water.
  8. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, as well as red pepper flakes if you like more heat.
  9. Do not stir the guvec pot; cover and start cooking at medium heat, until it starts to bubble.
  10. Once bubbling, turn the heat to low and simmer and gently cook for 2 hours, covered.
  11. Once cooked, turn the heat off and let the Guvec rest in the earthenware pot for 30 minutes. The flavors blend and settle deliciously. Check the seasoning and add more salt and ground black pepper if needed.
  12. You can serve Tavuk guvec with these flavorful potato & bulgur patties and a dollop of plain yoghurt aside.
 

 

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Zucchini Casserole with Ground Meat and Vegetables -Etli Kabak

Delicious zucchini casserole with ground meat and vegetables, perfect for a mid week meal.

Delicious zucchini casserole with ground meat and vegetables, perfect for a mid week meal.

This is a lovely, comforting casserole that my mother used to cook for us almost weekly. 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.

Serves 4 -6

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

450 gr/ 1 lb Courgette/Zucchini, cut length ways and sliced
250 gr / 9 oz ground lamb or beef
225 gr / 8 oz potatoes cut into bite size chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon tomato puree
400 gr/ about 1 lb chopped tomatoes in tomato juice (1 can/tin)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz / 1 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoons paprika/ red pepper flakes

Heat the 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 meat and mix well. Add the potatoes and courgettes (zucchini), season with salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes in can and the water, mixing well. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 30 minutes. Finally add the parsley and the red pepper flakes, giving a gentle stir and add more salt if needed.

Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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