Lentils again. Yes, they’re good for you and they taste great! Here’s another of those typical all-in-one dishes that are so common in this cuisine.
Etli actually means ‘with meat’, beef or lamb, but I used lamb, hence the name of this recipe.
Pulses play a huge role in Turkish cooking so vegetarians are easily catered for. Not that you find many vegetarian Turks around! This recipe includes meat but you could just as easily omit it.
Green lentils are more resilient than the usual red variety and are used for meals and salads as they hold their shape well.The red sort is usually reserved for soup – yes, the national favourite,
The red sort is usually reserved for soup – yes, the national favourite, mercimek çorbası is based on this.
Here’s an easy everyday family dish that you can prepare without much fuss provided you’ve remembered to soak the lentils the night before. This kind of meal or yemek is easy on the budget too as you can put as much – or as little – meat as you like.
The other advantage is that a meal like this can stretch to feed more mouths if necessary. Just add a nice pilaf and salad and there you are!
This comes from Turkish Cookery by Gülseren Ramazanoğlu, one of my very first Turkish recipe books! It’s falling apart now but I still refer to it.
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and drain the lentils. Place in a pan and set aside.
- Sauté the onions lightly in the butter for about 15 mins then cover and cook on low heat till the meat releases its moisture and reabsorbs it and becomes tender.
- Add the tomato paste.
- Stir once, then add the meat mixture, carrots, salt and pepper to the lentils.
- Add the hot water. Cover.
- Cook over medium heat (1hr – 1 ¼ hrs) until the lentils are tender, the liquid is mostly absorbed but there is still some left.
- Serve hot as a main course with rice and salad.