Sebzeli Tavuk: Chicken and vegetable stew
Grabbing a fast lunch in Turkey does not mean eating fast-food. Some of the best Turkish food is served at “point-and-shoot” style restaurants where you stand in line, point at the food you want, take it from the servers, put it on your tray, pay, and then seat yourself.
These “point-and-shoot” style places prepare huge batches of stews, soups, salads, rice, bulgur, pasta, and daily specialty items. They also have staple items like yoğurt, ayran, cacık, bread, and desserts. Around 12 pm they start to have lines forming outside as the lunch crowds wait their turn to select their meals. Once the food runs out for the day, then they will close (except a few places which will remain open for dinner).
The food is not expensive for what you are getting. You can typically order a portion of a chicken or beef dish, some rice or bulgur, and soup or cacık for around 10-15 lira ($5-7). My favorite dish to order is always the nohut (chickpeas) with bulgur and a side of mercimek çorbasi (lentil soup) in the winter, and cacık in the summer. I also love ordering the chicken stews because they are filling and nutritious.
This chicken stew is inspired by those “point-and-shoot” style restaurants, but I changed the ratio of vegetables to chicken to include more vegetables so it is a healthier and lighter meal.
Recipe: (serves 3-4)
- Chicken breast 2 each (about 1 1/3 lbs or 0.6 kilos)
- Olive oil 2 tbsp (27 grams)
- Onion, diced 1 each
- Garlic, cloves, minced 3 each
- Red pepper, diced 2 each
- Green peppers, thin, chopped 10-14 each
- Tomatoes, medium, diced 3 each
- Red pepper paste 1 heaping spoonful
- Red pepper flakes pinch
- Oregano pinch
- Chop chicken breasts into cubes and toss with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and add onion, garlic, and chicken. Cook until chicken is mostly cooked through.
- Add other vegetables and red pepper paste.
- Add salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste. You may add a little bit of hot water if necessary.
- Simmer over low flame for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Take off heat and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
- Serve hot with bread or rice to soak up juices.
Some helpful tips:
-This recipe is really open to your imagination. If you have other vegetables, feel free to put them in too. Just make sure that if you are using root vegetables like carrots or potatoes that you put them in the pot at the same time as the chicken so they will cook through.