Etli Güveç / Tava (don’t worry about the casserole pot, it’s washed and super clean now!)
I remember going to Antalya as a 9 year old to stay with my dad’s friend and his family. My dad had made friends with Kemal by helping him out at work one day, and as a gesture of goodwill, Kemal invited us to stay with him and his family in Turkey.
I have such fond memories (including all 9 of us squeezing into his Mercedes 🙈 and walking up 7 flights of stairs in the dark during a power cut) of the trip, especially visiting the beautiful mountainous landscape of Kemer. We swam in one of the stunning waterfall holes and then had lunch by the side of a mountain; a huge big tray of etli tava (şmall pieces of lamb and vegetables cooked and served in a large metal tray, so similar to what I cooked tonight (and for which I have a recipe on here for from yonks ago).
Although I have gone for the güveç “slow-cook clay pot” style of cooking here today, these flavours and meals always remind me of that holiday, and tonight I reminisced with every mouthful (I used beef tonight but lamb is my favourite).
500g beef / lamb casserole meat (neck / shoulder) cut into small bite size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thickly sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
400g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tomatoes, halved and sliced
1 tsp sea salt flakes
3/4 tsp coarse black pepper
2 slices lemon
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried mint
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp sweet (tatlı) Turkish red pepper paste
200ml freshly boiled water
Preheat oven to 160C fan (180C conventional); dissolve tomato purée and red pepper paste in the water and leave to one side.
Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil in bottom of a casserole dish then evenly add meat.
Continue to layer up with onion, bay and 3 garlic cloves, and a little salt and pepper; then red/green peppers, more seasoning, potatoes and garlic, some of the dried herbs and seasoning, then finish off with tomatoes, lemon slices and remaining seasoning and dried herbs. Drizzle with reminding olive oil.
Pour in the water and tomato / pepper paste mixture, cover the top with a small sheet of parchment paper, then a small plate that fits in the casserole dish (to weigh it down a little), then the lid, and pop in the oven on the bottom rack for 1hr 45-2hrs.
Carefully take out, take off the lid, paper and plate, baste over the tops of the tomatoes/potatoes with some of the juices. Pop back in oven, uncovered, for another 20-25 mins then turn up heat to 200C fan (220C conventional) for a final 10 mins, so that the top really caramelises.
Take out of oven, pop lid on, and allow to sit for 30 mins or so before serving (if you can - if not, eat!)