Meat and poultry

Meat and poultry

By
Andy Harris
Contains
12 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493765
Photographer
David Loftus

Lamb is the most popular and common meat used in Turkey. You can smell it on every street in small köfteci restaurants where they serve simple grilled köfte with bread and salad; see it being expertly carved at hole-in-the-wall döner joints all around the Grand Bazaar and along Istiklâl Caddesi; and hear it being diced and minced for kebabs with massive, and scarily sharp, scimitars on well-worn chopping blocks before sizzling over charcoal grills. There’s the distinctive flavour in many lamb dishes that comes from the much-prized tail fat from the hardy Anatolian fat-tailed sheep, often just threaded onto skewers between cubes of meat for classic þiþ kebabý . There’s also the impressive tandýr kebabý where it’s cooked whole in a pit oven. Along with beef and veal, lamb is commonly made into a host of interesting stews combined with vegetables, fruits, pulses and grains. Make sure you go to restaurants around the city that specialise in slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with aromatic pilafs, for a typical Turkish feast.

Beyond the constant jostling crowds of the covered Mısır Çar şısı (Spice Bazaar), there’s a warren of streets, home to all the delights of the Turkish kitchen – spice shops with mounds of red peppers and chilli pastes and flakes, string wreaths of dried okra for soup as well as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines for stuffing, freshly roasted nuts and currants for pilafs, hole-in-the-wall kiosks selling nothing but dried beans or rice. There are always queues for the ground coffee at Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, open since 1871; and as you walk along Hasırcılar Caddesi, make sure you visit the Kalite Bıçak (‘Quality Knife’) shop just before Rüstem Paşa Mosque, with every type of meat chopper, curved zırh scimitars for mincing kebab meat, börek cutters and skewers for every occasion. Further up this fascinating artery, dive off into its labyrinthine side streets for specialist stalls with every size and shape of wooden pide baking board, sieves and colanders, shiny portable metal grills and massive barbecues.

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