I have the feeling that the recipe that I am about to describe is destined to become my dinner party favourite this autumn. So perhaps I am mad to share – but I am so excited about it that it would be a crime to keep it all to myself!
It is figgy again but this time in a savoury form, something that I said was not usually found in Turkish cuisine yet it comes from a super new cookbook called Cooking New Istanbul Style by Refika Birgül (http://www.refikaninmutfagi.com/).
She describes it as her version of Boeuf Bourguignon meets Algerian tagine with overtones of juicy meat cooked in South East Turkey. Ambitious, eh? But oh,so do-able. Serves 6.
Now back to the meat: I highly recommend using your local kasap or butcher as opposed to the supermarket. Ideally get a friend to introduce you to hers.You will get the best service if you build up a relationship with your friendly butcher.
Always go to the same one and he will reward you with the choicest cuts.You can also phone in your order and if he is obliging – and they usually are – he will deliver!
- I kg fillet steak in a piece – bonfile (pron: bon-fi-leh). Although you can buy beef already cubed, Refika recommends that you cut this yourself into largish chunks.
- 3 onions, finely sliced in rounds
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 large red pepper, cut into strips (about 1cm thick)
- I green bell pepper: cut the same way
- 2 carrots, chopped into small cubes
- 2 tbsp flour
- 10 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp red pepper paste /biber salçası ( pron: bee-bair sal-cha is enough ), readily available here
- 15 dried figs
- 1 tsp salt
- one handful black peppercorns- you may prefer to give a few good twists of the pepper mill instead
- 7 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup chicken stock made from stock cube
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Saute the beef in the oil in batches. Remove from pan.
- Continue with onions and remove.
- Now saute the peppers and carrots for 1 min.
- Add whole garlic cloves. Saute for a further minute.
- Return meat and onions to pan. Reduce heat to very low. Sprinkle the flour over meat and stir for 2 mins.
- Add hot chicken stock and the wine.
- Add pepper, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper paste. Stir it all together gently. When the mixture reaches the right consistency, add the dried figs split into two and stir.
- Cover the pan and cook on very low heat. After 1 hour, stir and continue cooking for a further 1½ hours.
The smell is divine!
Next time I think I will use a güveç or Turkish earthenware cooking pot, and cook it nice and slowly in the oven.Or simply my le Creuset in the oven. I think it would be even more succulent.