Exploring Turkish Cuisine, Mains, Recipes
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Pasta with Roasted Capsicum and Kavurma (Beef Confit)

There is a dish called Kavurma, a slow-cooked meat dish, which is also common in Balkan countries. But the kavurma I’m talking about is a charcuterie version, specifically called Rize (a name of a region famous for Turkish tea, butter and bread, etc.) Kavurma. As good jambon or ham is always missed here, I look out for an alternative when I’m not smuggling some from neighbouring countries.

When I was at Beykoz for Mother’s day brunch, a small village less than a 30-min drive from where I live – 10 mins from my previous flat, I found a new delicacy called Kavurma, which is like beef confit. This natural greenery is a haven for me and I’m blessed to have it at an arm’s reach. It’s a breathing place for my soul enduring the honking cars and crowded streets throughout the week.

While in a small butcher’s there, buying some meat for dinner, my eyes caught something that looked like the confit one would see in European delicatessens. I jumped at the opportunity to have a little taste and liked it instantly, so I bought a big slab, which isn’t what you see in the photo because it had been long gone by the time I cooked this. I had enjoyed it with wine and cheese so much that I bought another piece when I was at a gourmet store earlier this week.

pasta kavurma  (2)

But this time, instead of eating it fresh, I wanted to cook something with it as I found its taste somewhat similar to duck confit, perhaps because of the fact it was cooked in fat for many hours, 5-6 hours, therefore rich and flaky. Perfect with wine!

I checked what I had in the fridge and these were what I found, tulum cheese, capsicums and black olives. Instead of using the usual Parmesan cheese, I decided to use tulum cheese I had bought when I was on a cheese frenzy since it was rather sharp and fruity, unlike other tulum cheeses I’d tasted before.

For some reason, I’ve stopped liking raw capsicums. I much prefer them roasted as in my healthy veggie stack. It’s pretty personal but I feel that the raw capsicum taste overpowers other ingredients and also, it’s hard to digest; if I eat them raw, I get the pepper taste all the way till I go to bed and I don’t like it. 😦 For that reason, I’m always careful when I’m cooking with them to make sure they are really well-cooked. I especially hate pizza with lots of capsicum unless they are roasted. But I don’t mid it when I’m not drinking wine or it’s in a salad, finely sliced.

pasta kavurma  (7)

Mr.O said he would have liked more kavurma in the pasta, and though I said, “No, it’s just for a flavour!”, I can see how great it would be with more kavurma and less veggies. I’ll do that next time. Another day I threw some of it into a stir fry with green beans and cooked in soy sauce and ginger, which both of us thought was delicious, so I’ll definitely cook it again and post it here some time. In my opinion, having this kind of cured meat in the pantry is a cook’s wisdom as it makes cooking so easy. One of my favourite ready-to-go meals was a pasta tossed in raw eggs and slices of prosciutto, and perhaps a few kalamata olives and rocket leaves.

The only problem was the rocket leaves in this case…. these are the smallest leaves I picked from the bunch but Turkish rocket leaves are so big and bitter. Nonetheless, it didn’t spoil the pasta taste, not so much. Many of you will say that it’s a typical Mediterranean flavour combo. So what? But I can still get credits for incorporating local ingredients into creating something different, can’t I?

pasta kavurma  (1)

So many culinary potentials for this kavurma are flicking through my head, making me almost dizzy. I don’t know how Turkish people actually use it in cooking besides omelettes as I haven’t seen any dishes with karvuma in restaurants; it’d be interesting to find out. As always, I cook what my palate craves, through my memories of food travels around the world, and without recipes. I’m too lazy to follow recipes unfortunately. Perhaps, it’s a good thing or it can be a bad thing, depending on how you see it.

I’m going to skip writing the recipe for this dish. It’s a pasta after all! By the way, noodles weren’t brought from China to Italy by Marco Polo. And I don’t know why there aren’t any long noodles in the Middle Eastern cuisine. Does anyone have an answer for this? I hope someone leaves a comment. 🙂 Cheers.

2 Comments

  1. i love kavurma!! many restaurants in the central anatolian city i am living in serve kavurma in all kinds of ways–from sautee with some onions or in a tomato-y sauce. we even have pide with kavurma topping. today i found out that most groceries have 2.5kg logs–i sauteed about a quarter of it with tomatoes and red peppers, served with rice.

    • Wow, I didn’t know that! Here, they hardly eat it, except during the sacrifice festival or so have I been told. I’ve never seen it on restaurant menus, either. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this kavurma thingy 🙂 By the way, I love roasted eggplants and it was interesting to read life stories from another city other than Istanbul. Thank you.

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