Turkey—Lamb & Cabbage Bake

 

Turkish Maintky_lambcab

Lamb & Cabbage Bake
Lahana Firinda
(Serves 8)

Out of this world! A lamb and cabbage casserole topped with a cheesy custardy top.


4 T olive oil
2 large onions (diced)
1 lb. ground lamb
1 large cabbage, 3 lb. (shredded)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (see sidebar)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 C beef broth or stock
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Topping
3 eggs
1 1/4 C milk
6 oz. feta cheese (crumbled)
4 T fresh breadcrumbs

Onions: heat oil in a large sauté pan, over medium heat. Add onions, cooking and stirring, 15-20 minute or so, till brown but not burnt. You want to slightly caramelize them.

Assembly: pour off all but 2 T of oil and add lamb, stirring 5-7 minutes, till brown. Add cabbage and seasonings, along with tomato paste and beef broth. Stir and simmer gently for 20 minutes—until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn mixture into greased 9” x 13” casserole. Set aside and allow to cool 20 minutes.

Topping: preheat oven to 350. Mix eggs with milk and pour over casserole (be sure the casserole has cooled off a bit; if it's too hot, it will cook the eggs). Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and feta cheese. Bake 45 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

| See more Turkish recipes |

Tips & Glossary

You may not have all the ingredients used in Turkish cooking on your spice shelf, but you'll find them at Middle-East food stores. To avoid frustration, make a list of items you need before trying out the recipes.

Cumin: an aromatic, kin to parsley and carrots; an important ingredient in chili powder. Used especially in Indian curries, as well as in Mid-Eastern, Mexican, and Asian dishes. It has an earthy, peppery flavor.

Filo: aka phyllo, paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. Buy frozen in any grocery store and follow directions on package for thawing. When working with one sheet, keep others covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out.

Peeled Tomatoes: choose 1 of 2 methods: 1) hold tomatoes one-at-a-time over gas flame till skin bubbles and becomes charred; 2) drop all tomatoes into pot of boiling water for 45 seconds. After either method, run tomatoes under running water; skins will slip off easily.

Roasted peppers: buy them prepared. Or make your own: place peppers under a broiler, or hold over a gas flame, till skin chars and blisters. Place them in a closed paper bag for 15-20 minutes (to steam them). When cool enough to handle, the skins slip off under running water.

Rosewater: distilled from rose petals and used to flavor Mid-Eastern and Asian cooking. You can make your own—but why? Purchase it at Mid-East or Asian or food stores.

Saffron: the most expensive spice in the world, from the crocus plant, and cultivated in Iran and Spain. Along with its unusual taste, it adds a deep rich yellow color to food. Use a strand or two at a time and soak in warm water before using.

Skewers: use metal or wooden skewers for kabobs. If wooden, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes before using to prevent them from catching on fire.

 

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