Monday, June 21, 2010

Entrees - Fallen Woman's Kebap (my Grandmother Ulker's recipe)

The first time I visited my parents' hometown, Kilis, a small border city in Southeastern Anatolia, I was about 9 or 10 years old.  My maternal grandparents still kept a house there at the time and it was one of the most incredible places I had ever seen.  You entered into an open courtyard that had the kitchen and several small rooms bordering it and a door to a small backyard, then there were stairs on the side wall that took you up to the family's living quarters.  I felt like I was in a fairy tale house, it was so different than the cement blocks that we called home back in Istanbul.  That trip was also the first time I tasted this kebap.  Southeastern Anatolia is the birth place of the 'Kebap' but it is usually made in restaurants with very fatty lamb.  I believe this must also be called a 'Kebap'  because the taste can be quite similar to the one's you can eat at restaurants with one little difference, it's a bit more healthier.     

My grandmother had prepared the meat that my grandfather had cooked in a breadbaker's special wood burning oven, next door.  I think I ate the whole thing.  My grandfather, then laughingly told me the name and the story of this wonderful delicacy.  It is called a 'Fallen Woman's Kebap' because a woman who is outside the home all day visiting, shopping or whatever else instead of cooking, cleaning and other wifely chores would of course be considered a fallen woman.  But she still had to feed her family and this is something you can put together in 5 minutes and throw in the oven and still make it for dinner time. I guess we could call it 'The Working Woman's Kebap' today but it wouldn't be as much fun...

Basically, you can use any type of ground meat you like (the original is beef) and put tomato paste, pepper paste, parsley, lots of diced onions, a couple of cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, knead it all together and pat it down in an oven-proof dish and cook for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven and... Voila!
I would suggest playing around with herbs and spices to get a taste you prefer but made this way it is a perfect 'kebap.'

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