As we already mentioned, vegetables are probably the most common base ingredient in Turkish cuisine. This week, however, we couldn’t ignore the most known turkish dish all around the world: Kebab.
Kebabs are made with casserole meat, stews or even grilled meat. Doner Kebab (“rotating roast“) is extremely popular throughout Europe, but also in some areas of the United States, both as a dine-in dish and, especially, as a take away. It is not uncommon that Doner Kebab is called shawarma, a word originated from the Turkish çevirme which is simply a synonym of doner. A mixture of veal, beef and lamp, Kebab is cooked on a vertical spit and shaved into thin shavings. It is then wrapped in a either a flatbread or a sandwich. Sometimes it can be also served on a plate together with lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber.
Kebab seems to have originated in the 18th century during the Ottoman empire, however back then the spit, called doner, was not vertical but horizontal. The vertical mangal,” barbecue”, according to tradition, is attributed to Hacı İskender, who owned a restaurant in the industrial 19th century Bursa, Turkey, and invented the way of roast vertically as his grandson İskender Efendi states in one of the family biography.
Doner Kebab is not a very easy dish to make at home, however the homemade version is almost as tasty and good as the one made on a vertical slit!
1 (2 1/2- 3 pound) Lamb Leg (boned & cut in slices)
3 pounds Ground Lamb
3 cups minced Onions
1 large Tomato
1 tbsp Black Pepper Powder
Salt (to taste)
1 cup Olive Oil
Remove any bits of skin and bone from the lamb leg. Cut it into serving-size slices, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Pound it with a meat tenderizer or the edge of a heavy saucepan until thin and trim.
Prepare a marinade sauce with onions, olive oil, salt and pepper, and soak the meat in this marinade overnight.
Spread the lamb fat over each piece of the meat, and ground lamb mixed with an egg. Thread pieces of meat on a long skewer, starting with the larger pieces. Trim the chunk of meat on the skewer and add trimmings to the end of the skewer. The tomato is put on the skewer whole at the end.
If you have a Doner Kebab broiler you can let the meat cook while turning and shave it as you go. But if you don’t you can still shape the minced lamb into a loaf tin and cook it on a baking tray at 356 F for about 1 hour and 20 min, turing it halfway through. When it is done wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 min. Slice it as thin as possible and serve with lettuce, onions, tomato and cucumber, chili if you like, over a pita bread or on a plate.