The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Islim Kebabi...A Turkish Delight

The challenge was to create a classic dish based on international cuisine that is outside our comfort zone.  After some discussion and several ideas, we chose Turkish cuisine.  The food of Turkey is unfamiliar to all of us, and we felt it would present us with more of a challenge, requiring us to tackle some dishes and ingredients with which we have never worked.  
Turkish cooking finds its roots in the cuisines of some of the Eastern cultures.  Disparate throughout different regions of the country, the cuisine of Turkey combines aspects of Middle Eastern cooking, Central Asian cooking, Mediterranean cooking, and Eastern European cooking.  From yoghurt soup to freshly baked breads to the famous Turkish coffee, the amalgamous melting pot of worldly influences to be found in Turkish cuisine present a wide variety of options and flavors to tantalize the taste buds.  
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, has been a culinary center of the eastern world for ages.  The Spice Bazaar, built in Istanbul three hundred fifty years ago, provides the people of Turkey with a great center for shopping, similar to the malls of today.  Many Turkish staples may be found here, including stalls with hundreds of spices on display. 
For this challenge, we will be honoring Turkey by creating some dishes using classic Turkish ingredients such as lamb, eggplant, and fig, to present a Turkish feast to get you salivating.  We hope you enjoy our efforts.  While we are far from experts on Turkish cuisine, we will do our best to properly represent the time-honored flavors of the cuisine of Turkey.
For the purposes of this challenge, we will focus and be presenting the main dish. We will also be including our full menu and presenting these side dishes separately....Stay tunned tomorrow for recipes.

The Menu
Main Dish~ Islim Kebabi
Side Dish~ Fig Compote with Clotted Cream
Appetizer~ Mercimekli Kofte with Pomegranate Molasses

What you will need:
2 pounds lamb meat, cut into small cubes
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
5 medium tomatoes, 3 grated and 2 sliced
2 large chili peppers, quartered
3 large long eggplants, sliced
Sunflower or olive oil
Raw sugar
Salt and Pepper
A clay baking dish or baking dish with lid
(A clay baking dish will allow for steaming)
If this is not available you can cover a baking dish with foil of lid

Let's get cooking:
In a large sauce pan
Simmer lamb, grated tomatoes,chopped peppers, garlic and onion.
With a splash of oil and just enough water to cover.
Simmer until liquid is reduced and meat is tender.
For the eggplant slice lengthwise and place on a baking sheet.
Brush with enough oil to evenly coat...Add a sprinkle of sugar and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees until just softened.

 Now take two strips of eggplant and arrange one over the other in a cross shape.
Fill center with lamb mixture, and fold in ends of the eggplant over the top to close.
Top with a slice of tomato and put a toothpick through the middle to hold it closed.
*If using a clay baking pot, wet inside and out and drain excess water.
 Continue with the rest of the eggplant and meat, and arrange in a
 clay pot or baking dish. Or use a traditional baking dish and cover with foil.
Drizzle the cooking liquid from the meat and bake at 350 degrees the tomatoes and peppers are lightly browned

Voting begins Monday September 27th at 6 am PST...
We will be posting the additional dishes as a treat for you, plus a few Magic of Spice
International cuisine shopping bloopers :)
To vote you will need to register here on Foodbuzz our sponsor :)
And you can see our entry for the Project Food Blog #1 here if you missed it
and want to learn a bit more about us.
See our contestant profile here


The Ardent Epicure Team
Adam, Grely and Alisha

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