Friday, January 25, 2013

It’s been a long while since I made a proper Turkish güveç.

If you remember, a Turkish güveç is a casserole cooked in a special earthenware dish. In some ways, this Turkish dish is similar to the American casserole where you throw together some vegetables, meat, spices and perhaps a starch like potatoes or rice all in a pot. You let the pot slowly simmer to allow the meat to get tender and the juices to mingle.

The güveç is a perfect winter dish, but it’s one that’s also enjoyed all year round particularly during our visits to Cappadocia.

I don’t normally eat lamb, but I decided to try making a lamb güveç for my husband. This involved a trip down to my friendly butcher guys at Kardeşler Kasabı in Beşiktaş where I asked for kuzu boyun (lamb neck) as recommended from a friend.

Clearly, my butcher was not happy with that choice as he shook his head. “Az et. Ne yapıyorsunuz?” (Little meat. What are you making?)

I explained in Turkish that I wanted to make kuzu etli kuru fasülye güveç (lamb with white beans casserole).

My butcher went into the meat walk-in and came back out with kuzu kol (lamb shoulder) and told me this cut was much better.

Who am I to argue with my butcher? I think he’s a saint for putting up with this yabancı. I even brought them a batch of chocolate-mint cookies for New Year’s for being so kind to me all the time.

Well, you may not have an amusing scene with your butcher like I did, I promise this lamb güveç will melt in your mouth and warm your belly.

Afiyet olsun!
Turkish lamb & bean güveç  served in individual clay güveç dishes.
Turkish Lamb and Bean Güveç/(Kuzu Etli Kuru Fasülye Güveç)
(Adapted from The Sultan’s Kitchen” by Ozcan Ozan)
Serves: 6

2          oz.                   unsalted butter
1          T.                     Turkish olive oil
1          ea.                    large onion, diced
4-6       ea.                    garlic cloves, chopped
3          ea.                    carrots, medium diced
1          lg.                    potato, medium diced

1          kilo (2.2 #)       lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (kuzu kol kuşbaşı)

1          400 g.              can of diced tomatoes
1          large can          white beans or 2 cups dried white beans soaked overnight, drained
1          T.                     tomato paste
1          tsp.                  ground cumin
1          tsp.                  pul biber (optional)
2          cups                 beef/lamb stock or water
2          cups                 green peppers, sliced (4-5 dolma biber)
TT                                salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.         In a large, heavy casserole dish, heat the butter and oil. Add the onions and garlic. Sweat the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
2.         Next, add the carrots, potato and lamb. Cook for several minutes until the lamb is browned. (I added the lamb bones too for extra flavor.)
3.         Then, add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, spices, beef stock or water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour. While cooking, check to see if you may need to add more liquid.
4.         If you used dried beans, the casserole will need about another hour to cook the beans until they are tender. If you want, you can transfer the pot to the oven and continue cooking at 350F/175C.
5.         Since I used canned beans, I just added the green peppers towards the end of the 1 hour and let cook for 5-10 minutes.     
6.         Serve the güveç with chopped parsley and rice pilaf on the side.

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tasteofbeirut said...

We made a similar dish this week; I am in need of more solid info on different cuts of meat, but too squeamish about even eating meat to bother (so far); it is always a lifesaver to have a trusted butcher.

Joy said...

@tasteofbeirut, yes, a good butcher is very important just like finding a good kuafor! The normal grocery store meat here is just not the same quality at all!

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

Yummy, yummy yummy Joy, Eline saglik! Your etli kuru fasulye looks delicious - your butcher is so lucky to have your cookies!!:) x Ozlem

jaz@octoberfarm said...

oh yum! i love lamb! i have a great butcher here too. it is snowing!!!

Joy said...

@Ozlem, Çok teşekkürler! I'm trying. :-)

@Joyce, it's delicious! Enjoy the snow!

Fit With Flash said...

ah. this looks amazing. i have to admit i've never thought of a lamb casserole, but i like the idea! : )

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

This sounds lovely for a cold winter night! I love winter food of the peasant variety, especially if it invlves beans of some sort. My native Dutch choice would be thick Dutch split pea soup (erwtensoap).

I'll see if my butcher can come up with lamb shoulder meat and I'll give your recipe a try. No doubt it will be delicious. Your photos make me hungry.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Oops: Erwtensoap should be erwtensoep.

Julia said...

You're right Joy, never argue with a butcher. :) Love the look of your güveç - we also love the Sultan's Kitchen book, too.

Joy said...

@Fit With Flash, hope you give the recipe a try! It's really delicious!

@Miss Footloose, I saw your recent post about erwtensoep, but must admit I dislike split-pea soup very much. I'm getting more used to lamb since we've been living here in Turkey.

@Julia, I know it's such a great cookbook!

jenna said...

this looks beautiful! adding it to my list of dishes to try...i love lamb, but have never cooked it at home before, so it'll be a first.

Joy said...

@Jenna, this Turkish dish is very forgiving. I love any recipe you can just throw in a pot together. Hope you enjoy!