Chef´s Choice – Turkish Cuisine

Lamb Meat Balls with Apricots

turkish-flagTurkish cuisine is largely the continuation of Ottoman cuisine, which in turn borrowed many elements from Central Asian, Caucasian, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Greek and Balkan cuisines.

Turkish cuisine varies across the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region inherits many elements of Ottoman court cuisine, with a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, köftes and a wider availability of vegetable stews (Türlü), eggplant, stuffed dolmas and fish. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region uses fish extensively, especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi) and includes maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast (e.g. Urfa, Gaziantep, and Adana) is famous for its variety of kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as Baklava, Söbiyet, Kadayıf, and Künefe.

Ingredients

  • apricots-dried500g lean lamb, minced
  • 8 dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tspn ground cumin
  • 2 tspn ground coriander
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 10 g fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Preparation

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and cook the onions until softened. Add garlic and spices and gently cook for a few minutes more. Set half of the onion mix aside in a bowl to cool.

turkish-recipes-lamb-meatballs-with-apricotAdd the tomatoes and a pinch of sugar to the rest of the onions and simmer uncovered for a while until liquid has reduced a bit.

In the meantime, add the minced lamb, apricots, breadcrumbs and mint to the bowl with the cooled onions, season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste and knead thoroughly with your moistened hands. Shape the mixture into 3-4 centimeters diameter meatballs.

Heat another 2 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the meatballs until browned. Stir in the tomato/onion sauce and simmer everything covered for a few mins until the meatballs are cooked through.

Goes well with bulgur or rice, or simply with fresh white bread and salad.