Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Two nights ago, I was the perfect Turkish housewife and cooked up a storm.

I made a herbed salad topped with nar (a version of Claudia’s toros salatası), a creamy celeriac soup, zeytinyağlı pırasa (leeks in olive oil) and finally Turkish etli kereviz dolması (meat-stuffed celeriac). I told my husband he better enjoy all this now before I start my Polish lessons because I doubt I’ll be cooking much then!
Last week, I fondly recalled the etli kereviz dolması that my friend enjoyed at Çiya when I wrote that blog post. I couldn’t stop thinking about that dish! I had some leftover ground lamb in the freezer, and I can easily find celeriac at the markets here in Warsaw. With that in mind, I bought a kilo of celeriac at the BioBazar this past weekend.

The only problem is that celeriac is a pain in the butt to clean, hollow out and stuff! I found this article on how to easily clean celeriac, which helped immensely. Then, I used a melon baller to hollow out the insides of my celeriac once they were cut in half. Be sure to use lots of lemon juice with the cleaned celeriac halves to prevent browning.
I chatted with my girlfriend in NYC via Skype for nearly an hour while I cleaned the celeriac! If anyone has an easier way to do so, please let me know.

Once the celeriac was cleaned, I had about 2 cups worth of celeriac pieces, so I decided to make a quick soup. I sautéd onion and garlic, added the celeriac pieces and cooked with about 1 quart of chicken broth. Later, I pureed the soup and seasoned with salt and pepper. Perfect first course to go with the salad!

Once the celeriac were stuffed and baking, I moved onto the next dish – zeytinyağlı pırasa. For this recipe, I used my handy Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook. I often turn to this cookbook for inspiration when I’m at home.

While the etli kereviz dolması turned out delicious, I doubt I’ll be making this recipe anytime soon. I found it very tiresome scooping out the insides of the celeriac. But if you have the time someday, please do try my recipe and let me know how it turns out!

Afiyet olsun!
Turkish Etli Kereviz Dolması (Meat-Stuffed Celeriac)
1          kilo                  celeriac (Note: mine were quite small, about 8 total)
200      grams               ground lamb or beef
1          ea.                    medium onion, chopped small or grated
½         cup                  flat-leaf parsley, chopped small
1          teaspoon          dried dill
50        grams               long-grain rice (about ¼ cup)
1          Tablespoon      nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses)
To taste                       salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½      ea.                    lemon

As needed: butter and olive oil

Clean, peel and cut in half each celeriac. Using a melon baller or paring knife, hollow out the inside of each celeriac half. Immediately, place the celeriac in cold water with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, herbs, rice, nar ekşisi, salt and pepper together for the stuffing.

Fill each celeriac with the stuffing mixture. Place in a large oven-safe cooking dish. Then, top a few with dollops of butter and drizzle with a little olive oil. Fill the dish with water about one-third of the way up the celeriac.
Cover and bake in a 350 F/175 C oven for 45 minutes or until the celeriac are tender. If you have larger celeriac, then you will need to increase your cooking time too. Alternatively, you could cook the celeriac in a pot fitted with a lid on your stovetop.

Note: we enjoyed this celeriac dish even more the next day when topped with a bit of garlicky yogurt.

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Alex, Speaking Denglish said...

I am impressed! This looks straight out of a restaurant. Good going!

Joy said...

@Alex, Thanks! I still wear my restaurant hat at home some days! You can take the chef out of the kitchen, but....:-)

BacktoBodrum said...

Hi Joy - I love celeriac so I will give this a go. Did the rice cook ok like this or would it be better to parboil it a bit?

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this looks so good! i never thought of stuffing celeriac. i have to make this! would par boiling the halves before you scoop them out work? it might make it easier to scoop out. i just love celeriac. you are missing a crazy cold winter here this year joy!

Joy said...

@Annie, I should mention that I washed the rice like you usually would to make like biber dolmasi. A few of the grains of rice on top were slightly al dente. Soaking the rice for 5-10 minutes might help with that situation.

@Joyce, well, we're certainly getting our snowfall here today! I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Regarding the celeriac, I read a few other Turkish recipes that suggested parboiling the celeriac anywhere from 10-20 minutes to aid in the scooping out part. The melon baller worked well for me, but I imagine if you don't have one, the parboiling method might be easier and then use a spoon or paring knife.

This method also would reduce your cooking time a bit once the celeriac were stuffed! :-)

Unknown said...

I too made this recipe for the stuffed celeriac once and once only. I thought it was going to be great but hollowing them out just wasn't worth it :(( The tips for parboiling sound like a good idea. My recipe was authentic Turkish and didn't mention anything like that!But your sofra looks just great, Joy! xx ps thanks for the link to my blog!!

Alyson said...

Joy - have you seen this Istanbul cook book yet? Just bought it recently and I've liked what I've tried so far! although I a much more basic cook than you! :)

Unknown said...

This looks delicious. I wish I could find cereviz where I live in Alabama. I would love to try this dish!

Joy said...

@Claudia, of course! What I really needed for these kereviz was an artichoke guy peeling them on a nearby corner. But I suspect it would be much more difficult to peel these as fast as they do the artichokes in season! :-)

@Alyson, Thanks for the rec! I hadn't seen that cookbook yet. I honestly love The Sultan's Kitchen. It's full of all the great and easy Turkish recipes! Also, Turkey by Leanne Kitchen is a good one.

@April, Well, as we both know, Turks stuff just about any kind of vegetable so I'm sure you could find some kind of substitute. :-) Small pumpkins? Acorn squash, perhaps?