Turkey

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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A few  years after I was born, the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (Economic Miracle) was in full swing (I wonder if my existence helped?), and Germany was in need of a new, different kind of army – an army of workers, to fill all the open labor-positions. It was the time (1955) when Germany invited millions of “Gastarbeiter” (Guest Workers) to come and make their luck and life in Germany. Mostly poor, working class people from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and eventually, in 1968, Yugoslavia, took a chance and started a new life in this new promised land, first alone, working very hard, saving money, learning the language and customs and then, usually a couple of years later, having their family join them and slowly but surely integrating themselves and their families, and most of them eventually becoming Germans. (Passport, language, customs, and all) 🙂
I don’t want to go into the political, economic and social results of this enormous “Völkerwanderung” (Human Migration), but rather talk about the effect it had on the culinary landscape.
Up until then, there were basically three culinary styles in Germany –
“Deutsche Hausmanskost”, which translates into plain home cooking
“Deutsche Koch Kunst”, or German Culinary Arts, meals that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,  primarily available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
“Traditional French Cuisine”, also mainly available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
Of course, this all changed rapidly with the influx of millions of people cooking the traditional food of their countries of origin, and within a few short years one could easily find a Turkish doner shop, Italian pizzeria, Greek taverna, Spanish tapa restaurant, Portuguese cervejaria or Yugoslavian restaurant serving food from all over Europe, first in the big cities, but eventually even in the smallest of villages.
(Incidentally, nowadays you are more likely to find an ethnic restaurant than a typical “German Gasthaus” (German Tavern) in most places 😦
Securely wedged in my memory are the Cevapcici of that time. Up ’til then, we did not know “Burgers”. We had either buletten or meatloaf, typically served hot with mashed potatoes or pasta and mushroom sauce, or served cold with bread and mustard.
So when Cevapcici came along, they were pretty special and exotic to our palette and view.
Spiced with plenty of garlic, oregano and cumin among other seasonings, they tasted and looked very different to anything made with ground lamb (or any other ground meat) we’d seen up to then.
They were usually served with rice and salad or with some type of flatbread and salad, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce and raw onion rings.
Again, at the time, this was pretty new and exotic for most of us 🙂
So when I got this ground lamb yesterday, I was looking forward to preparing and eating, for the first time in many years, this wonderful dish.
I am happy I did because I enjoyed every morsel of it (and so did Bella) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !   (And full of memories) 🙂
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Pls note:
Replace the lamb with beef, or pork or a mixture of both if you prefer.
Cevapcici can be grilled, sauteed, baked (roast) or fried. However, do NOT overcook them or you are left with a dry stick of coal-like substance 😦
See the pic of the close-up of the meat. Well done but VERY juicy and tender 🙂
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Click here for  Potato Salad Recipe   (Add sliced, seeded cucumbers if desired)
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Lahmacun

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Lahmacun,  (Armenian: լահմաջու lahmaǰu or լահմաջո lahmaǰo; Turkish: Lahmacun, Arabic: لحم عجين‎, laḥm ʿajīnلحم بعجين‎, laḥm biʿajīn,  “meat with dough”
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Pizza …………
Is there anybody who does not like pizza ? I am sure there are a few people who don’t, but then, you can’t please everybody . 😦
I love pizza a lot, but I love pizza the way I remember having it when I was very young and I ate a slice or two almost daily. You see, when I was working in Munich for the first time, during the 1972 Olympic Games, money was tight, so cheap street food at night was the usual dinner. The new and very “IN” thing at the time and place was the new craze of pizza by the slice, sold for 1.00 DM through reach-through windows at pizzerias in  Schwabing, which was the “It” place in Munich and probably the hippest place in all of Germany during the 70’s. One slice was big enough to satisfy the hunger of a normal person, two slices if you had the munchies, which was a normal thing to have at 2.00 am after a night of dancing, drinking and a few puffs of the good stuff 🙂
Anyway, what was so great about this pizza was its absolute simplicity. Great, thin and crispy crust, a bit of cheese and a bit of tomato sauce, and if you wanted to splurge, a few slices of salami. Heaven, right there !
Not at all like the over-sauced, cheese-laden, multi-topping loaded “pies” you get served in most places nowadays.
To this day, if I order a pizza in a restaurant, I always ask for “easy on the cheese and sauce”.
When I make pizza at home, I usually prepare the “pizza” which hails from middle eastern countries as well as some countries which are situated in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. I was first introduced to these meat pies while travelling in Russia, Turkey and Israel, back in the 70’s when traveling meant an introduction to local, ethnic food on an almost daily basis, because at that time the McDonald’s and the KFC’s and such had not yet permeated every street corner around the globe and if you wanted to have reasonable priced nourishment, you had to eat what the locals ate. Good stuff, good times !
Most of these pies were made with a variation of a simple yeast dough, usually very thin, spread with meat paste, baked until crisp, topped with some kind of salad leaves and raw onions, cut into wedges and drizzled with lemon juice. The meat was usually lamb, but sometimes beef (and some mystery meats we don’t want to get into here). The only major variation I encountered was in Turkey, where sometimes the dough was much thicker and not crispy and the pie was rolled into a döner kebap-like concoction, (Döner kebap / Gyro / Shawarma) when it is served as street food and therefore rolled into a tight roll so it can be eaten without utensils.
When I prepare these “pies”, I usually don’t go to the length of making my own dough. I either buy ready made fresh pizza dough and roll it myself, or I buy pre-baked thin crust pizza. Sometimes I also use lavash, flour tortillas or naan. In my experience, all of these work fine and I love them all. Remember, the main ingredient is the meat paste, not the dough. Below, you can see three different dough’s I used. All of them are great and non of them are inferior to the others, just different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good ! 
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Lahmacun (sun dried tomato wrap-base)

Lahmacun (sun-dried tomato tortilla-base)

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Lahmacun (naan base)

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Lahmacun (pre-baked thin pizza dough-base)

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For the meat paste, use either ground lamb or ground beef. Add diced peppers, onions, tomatoes with its pulp, and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Then season with garlic paste, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, kosher salt, paprika powder and a dash of olive oil.
The paste should be fairly moist – if too dry, add more chopped tomatoes. Mix all ingredients without overworking the paste.
Spread meat paste thinly on the dough, bake at 400F until meat is cooked and dough is crisp.

To serve, top with salad and onions, drizzle with lemon juice, cut into wedges or roll into sandwich

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Brush the pie base with a good extra virgin olive oil
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For the salad topping, drizzle fresh leaves and onions with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and kosher salt
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Pre-baked pizza dough – Base
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Naan – Base  (cut into wedges or roll tight after baking for a one-handed sandwich)
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Sun-dried tomato tortilla – Base
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Adana Kebab (Kıyma Kebabı) (Turkish Lamb Skewer)

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In  the early seventies I was lucky enough to be visiting Turkey many times ( Istanbul,  Kusadasi  and  Izmir  among other places). At that time, Turkey  still had an oriental mystique to it which was incredibly fascinating and exiting to a young man like me. The sights, smells and noises were so much different from what I was used to – even after all these years, they still linger vividly in my memory
My girlfriend and I almost got stoned by an angry mob one day at the market in Izmir. (They actually threw stones and small rocks at us). We just came from the Caribbean and my girlfriend Edith was wearing the popular outfit of the day – high heels, hot pants and a thin t-shirt without a bra – not a good idea at the time in a mostly Muslim country. Only the quick help and intervention of our taxi driver who came running to rescue us (carefree idiots) prevented great harm or worse.
But beside that particular episode, I only have great memories of Turkey in the seventies. One of the highlights of our stay’s were always the great meals we had in local restaurants. We tried anything we could, from five-star restaurants in five-star hotels in Istanbul to small dives along the beaches and funky eateries in the sea port’s more seedy areas. The food was always great, fresh, spice-laden and exotic (to me at that time, most anything seemed exotic)
I remember  Adana Kebab  to be widely served and today I finally got around to do my own version which turned out pretty spectacular 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Afiyet Olsun !
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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Bragging Alert !!! Best Turkey-Leftovers Sandwich – Ever !

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It is my firm believe that leftovers should be as good as the original dish it derived from. Yesterday I prepared this sandwich and I am convinced that not only is it the best left-over turkey sandwich, but also one of the best turkey dishes overall, period 🙂
I usually prepare other dishes from leftover turkey since most turkey sandwiches I ever came across are boring and tasteless at best and at my house during times past the only leftover turkey would be white meat, which I can live without.
So, yesterday I had a nearly insatiable graving for a good sandwich, because on the previous evening I made the mistake of buying two “Vietnamese” sandwiches at a newly opened place, “546 bánh mì café” at 6461 Stirling Road, Davie. I was looking forward to a good sandwich but was bitterly disappointed. I had 3 different sandwiches with different meat fillings, all three were completely tasteless. The clerk asked me if I wanted chillies and of course I said yes. When I got home, I found one !!!  thin slice of chili in one of the three sandwiches. The meat was mostly tasteless and their contribution to Vietnamese food was the addition of a few spritz of maggi seasoning. (Which I am fond of). But the most disappointing thing was the portion size. Although the bread was of a nice size and of great texture, the amount of filling was laughable small. Granted, the sandwiches are very reasonably priced, but I’d rather pay a bit more and have a decent sized sandwich.
Fazit: Once is enough 😦

But back to the sandwich at hand : After I ate my three sandwiches (shared with Bella), I was still hungry and started to fantasize about eating a “real” sandwich the next day. The featured sandwich is what I came up with. I loved it so much that I will add them to my favorite dishes 🙂
Of course, you can substitute the turkey with chicken, beef, shrimp or any other protein you fancy and happen to have at hand, but the turkey leg meat was just perfect. Also, I had a bottle of “salsa de aji amarillo” in my larder which added that special touch of flavor and spiciness.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you don’t have “salsa de aji amarilo”, make a substitute by blending mayo, yellow peppers, salt, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers and turmeric (for the bright yellow color). For hot dishes, replace the mayo with heavy cream. Few folks will be able to tell the difference from the original, especially the bottled stuff.

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Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich - Ever !

Best Turkey Sandwich – Ever !

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Best Turkey Sandwich - Ever !

Best Turkey Sandwich – Ever !

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Preparation :
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To see instructions, hover over picture
To enlarge pictures, click on them


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National Flags Made Of Food

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As part of a promotion for the Sydney International Food Festival, the advertising agency WHYBIN\TBWA designed 18 national flags using foods each country is commonly associated with and that would also match the colors of the flag. 

Wow !
Such a simple, logic idea that has taken so long for somebody to visualize and promote. I stumbled across this by chance and was amazed that it did not get more attention world-wide, considering that everybody and their dog is now into creative food presentation and expressing themself through food. I hope that I can inspire to follow suit and that I can get many submissions from my readers with their own creation of a country flag of their choice. If there are more than one of the same country, we will vote which one to publish. If you’d like to submit, please use a white background and a similar rectangular plate as in the originals.

Life is Good !  Let’s do this ! 🙂

Should your your picture appear here, you will of course get the proper credits !

Below find the originals pictures and on the bottom of the page the appropriate credits.
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Thailand -  sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab

Thailand –
sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab

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South Korea -  kimbap and sauces

South Korea –
kimbap and sauces

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Vietnam -  rambutan, lychee and starfruit

Vietnam –
rambutan, lychee and starfruit

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United States -  hot dogs, ketchup and mustard

United States –
hot dogs, ketchup and mustard

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United Kingdom -  scone, cream and jams

United Kingdom –
scone, cream and jams

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Turkey -  Turkish Delight

Turkey –
Turkish Delight

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Switzerland -  charcuteries and swiss cheese

Switzerland –
charcuteries and swiss cheese

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Spain -  chorizo and rice

Spain –
chorizo and rice

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Japan -  tuna and rice

Japan –
tuna and rice

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Lebanon -  tomatoes, pita bread and parsley

Lebanon –
tomatoes, pita bread and parsley

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Indonesia -  spicy curries and rice

Indonesia –
spicy curries and rice

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India -  curry chicken, rice, cheera thoran and papadum wafer

India –
curry chicken, rice, cheera thoran and papadum wafer

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Greece -  olives and feta cheese

Greece –
olives and feta cheese

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France -  blue cheese, brie cheese and grapes

France –
blue cheese, brie cheese and grapes

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China -  dragon fruit and star fruit

China –
dragon fruit and star fruit

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Brazil -  banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passion fruit

Brazil –
banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passion fruit

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Australia -  meat pie and sauce

Australia –
meat pie and sauce

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Credits
Client: Sydney International Food Festival
Advertising Agency: WHYBIN\TBWA, Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Garry Horner
Creative Director: Matt Kemsley
Art Director: Miles Jeffreys
Copywriter: Tammy Keegan
Photographer: Natalie Boog
Retoucher: Nick Mueller
Food Stylist: Trish Heagerty
via   twistedsifter.com
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NOT A Turkey Sandwich

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Now  that normality has been restored in most home kitchens, it is time to attack the leftovers, hopefully without destroying our memories of a wonderful turkey feast by just slapping a few slices of meat in between two simple slices of bread and calling that a good way of using leftovers. Instead, I made this great turkey stew in a spicy cream sauce with grape tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano over pasta. Delicious, quick and easy 🙂
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Turkey Stew In Spicy Chili Cream

Turkey Stew In Spicy Chili Cream Over Conchiglioni

 

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Dear Friend’s, to help support this blog, please be so kind and click on the video on the bottom of this page.
(You don’t have to watch it, just click once)   Thank you 🙂

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Drunken Turkey Drum Stick

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Usually  when I walk into a store to buy food, turkey does not stand in the forefront of my mind. Today I was looking for something like gizzards, trotters, necks, etc. But when I saw this beautiful piece of poultry, my mind was made up, decision made :
Braised Turkey 🙂

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Turkey drums stick, onion diced, garlic paste, tomato chopped, chilis chopped, basil, peppers chopped, celery chopped, red wine, beer, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, butter

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Saute drum stick in butter until golden, remove. Saute vegetables, add wine and beer (no stock needed),  return drum stick , season with salt and pepper, simmer until tender but not falling apart. Remove 1/3 rd of the vegetables and blend until smooth. Return to stock to lightly thicken. Serve with any starch, such as pasta, potatoes, rice. I used a nice italian white bread which I sautéed in butter with roasted garlic paste. The best way to soak up the sauce and scoop up the vegetables. Simple food at it’s best 🙂

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Drunken Turkey Drum Stick

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Drunken Turkey Drum Stick

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Drunken Turkey Drum Stick
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Link To Beer Braised Turkey Leg’s 
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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Spiders From Mars

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Just  a light dinner tonight with one of my favorite ingredients – Octopus.
In the seventies I spent a lot of time in the  Mediterranean  and some of my  fondest memories take me back to  Turkey,  Spain  and  Greece and their great seafood.. Almost all memories I possess of that time are connected to food. Parties, dates, travel, good times and bad times, all somehow  lead to (mostly) great meals. Most involved seafood of one way or another. While there were too many outstanding meals to count, the ones I remember the most were the many octopus dishes I had, and of those, the ones I had in  Mykonos. To this day I can picture exactly in my head walking along the very small area in town, right on the water, where the fishermen had hung up their freshly caught little monsters on racks in the fresh air. We used to pick the ones which appealed to us the most, took a chair at one of the tiny restaurants right there on the other side of the walk way and just pointed the waiter to our catch, which he then took to the cook who added nothing more than salt, garlic,  olive oil  and lemon juice and grilled it to perfection. Memories……….
I am fond of octopus of any size and any preparation, so today on my way home from work when I saw some nice baby octopus at my neighborhood Asian store, there was only one option for dinner tonight : ” Baby Octopus Salad ” .
( Once I looked at the finished dish,   ” Spiders From Mars ”   just came to my mind and stuck there   🙂
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Click to hear  “Spiders From Mars
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Real Food, Real Opinions &  ”  REAL MUSIC  ”
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When it comes to baby octopus, folk’s have different opinions and preferences. Some people eat the head, others remove it (me). Some grill or saute them straight, others simmer them first until tender (me), then continue to grill or saute. Some like them in complicated sauces, others just simply grilled or sauted (me). Baby octopus curry anyone? Good stuff   🙂  So if you love seafood but have not yet tried these little creatures, it is high time to get a bit adventurous and put them on the menu.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Phyllo & Pork Cigars

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Many  years ago, when I went to Istanbul for the first time, one day my friend’s and I went to a port side restaurant which had the day’s menu displayed as actual food on a table outside.
One of the things that caught our eyes where wonderful pastries, rolled up like cigarettes and obviously stuffed with ???  We could not find out from the waiter what it was stuffed with (nobody at  the place spoke english ), but because they looked so appetizing we ordered a bunch. When they were served, much to my disappointment the first bite almost made me gag, because they were filled with  feta cheese  amongst other goodies. My friend’s loved the “cigarettes”, but sadly, I could not eat them. Although I am a fanatic cheese lover, one of the few cheeses I can not eat is feta cheese. But over the years, these pastries vividly stayed in my memories of my first visit to  Turkey  and I have since then created many different versions. ( None of them containing goat cheese ) but using fillings made of lamb, shrimps, lobster, vegetables, fish, as well as a number of sweet fillings, chocolate, strawberries, bananas, etc. They are great as party food, snack, appetizer or, as here, a main course .
Here is a version of  Turkish Sigara Boregi I concocted earlier today. Because they served as dinner, I made them much thicker then the usual Sigara Boregi, so instead of cigarettes I call them Cigars  🙂
I just loved this dish, Bella and I pigged out and eat the whole tray for dinner, all eight of them.
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Ingredient’s :

Pork,  ground
Vegetable stock,
Onions,  diced
Peppers,  diced
chilies,  diced
( I like my filling VERY spicy. If you don’t,
you might want to hold off on the scotch bonnet’s )
Tomato,  chopped
Garlic,  paste
Kosher salt,
Smoked paprika,
Parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
Butter, for phyllo
Olive oil,  to saute
Red wine,  to deglaze


Method :

Saute the meat in the olive oil until it start’s to brown.
Add the vegetables, continue sauteing until the onions
are translucent. Deglaze with red wine, add stock and
seasoning. Let simmer until meat is done and liquid
has mostly evaporated.
Brush each phyllo sheet with butter before topping with
the next sheet. In this recipe I have used three layers of
phyllo. Put some of the pork on one end of the phyllo sheets,
sprinkle cheese on top, roll up into cigar shape, cut to desired length.
A variation would be to sprinkle the pork loosely over the
entire surface and the roll them into cigarette sized rolls.
As dipping sauces I had sweet Thai chili sauce and dill-yogurt.

 Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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