Sac kavurma

Eid ul-Adha may have been a whole month ago now, but today I wanted to share a classic Kurban Bayram dish with you because it’s too good to be reserved for the holidays (and I only just learned how to make it).

Sac kavurma2Sac kavurma is a brilliant example of Turkish home cooking at its most delicious best. This is not the kind of thing you tend to find on restaurant menus, but it’s cooked frequently at home because of its simplicity. It contains few ingredients, so use the best you can afford to really let their flavours really shine.

Although M and I have had a go at cooking this together by ourselves, and I’ve questioned Zekiye Hanim closely about her technique, it has never been as lip-smackingly good as when she makes it. And so Zeynep. one of M’s cousin’s daughters, came to my rescue. I was gob-smacked, both by how simple and how healthy it is. Almost no oil is used, and only a minimum of salt. The result is a simple, wholesome dish that goes perfectly with pilav and a chopped salad.

Serves: 6

Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes

What you need

1 kg lamb, fat removed, diced into 1 inch pieces

2 big tomatoes, finely chopped

6 long green sweet peppers (or 2 green bell peppers if you can’t find the long ones)

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

A little olive oil in reserve, if necessary


How to make it:

  1. Begin by placing the chopped lamb into a colander and rinsing it carefully under the cold tap. I am still not sure if this is really to clean it or to make the meat a little wetter for the next stage, but it worked, so I’d suggest doing it.
  2. Place a large, heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat (I used a wok. You’ll also need a lid later, so have one handy).
  3. Tip in the lamb pieces, and leave to brown for around 3 minutes. Next, use a spatula to turn the meat, and allow to brown on the other side for another 3 minutes.
  4. Next, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for around 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as after a few minutes the lamb will start to release water and it might bubble over. If this happens, just reduce the heat a little.
  5. Now, reduce the heat to low, adjust the lid so it’s only partially covering the lamb and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the water is evaporated. This really depends on how much water comes out of he lamb, so you’ll have to keep an eye on it and make a judgement call about the timing.
  6. Once all the water is evaporated and the pan has dried out, the lamb will begin to brown properly. Keep the meat moving, until it’s browned on all sides and smelling delicious.
  7. Once the meat is thoroughly browned, tip in all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover with the lid again and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir and repeat, until the vegetables are cooked. If you’re worried about the meat catching, you can add a splash of olive oil, but the water from the tomatoes and peppers should keep everything sufficiently lubricated.
  8. Once the vegetables are also cooked (to see if they are, give them a quick taste. The onion should be soft and caramelising), you are done. Serve with rice, salad and some fresh bread.