Pastirma is Turkish traditional type of meat. Let me give a very brief history of Pastirma.
In ancient times, Turks, who lived in Central Asia invented this type of meat thanks to the hard life conditions they had. They had a nomadic life, so they had to find their own solutions for certain problems. One of those problems was how to keep meat for long times. As they were not a kind of settled community, they couldn’t put meat in deep wells (as they did later when they settled). So how could they keep meat without any decay?
Here is their solution: First seasoning meat with various spices and fenugreek seeds, and then drying it under sun. After drying it, they put this meat into their saddlebags on their horses and they hit the trail. The meat was no longer raw when dried under the heat of sun and tightened in saddlebags, which also got warm and helped meat cook by rubbing horses while they were in motion. They could keep meat for months with this method.
Today, pastirma is still produced from beef meat, but of course not with this method. There are private companies which produce pastirma in hygienic atmospheres. Among the cities of Turkey, Kayseri is famous for its pastirma.
Every Turkish person loves pastirma even despite its high price. They either use it in some dishes or eat it bare as an appetizer.
The most popular dish with pastirma is Haricot Beans with Pastirma. And here is the recipe:
• 2 cup haricot beans (serving: 6)
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• ½ cup olive oil
• 100gr pastirma, the seasoned part is removed, sliced thin
• ½ tbsp tomato paste
• ½ tbsp pepper paste
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1,5 tsp salt
Soak the beans in a large bowl overnight. They should wait at least 8 hours before cooking.
Then, the following day, sieve beans in a clean pot and boil them in 1lt water until they are tender. You can do this in a very short time (even without soaking beans) if you boil them in a pressure cooker. But as I still don’t know how to use it, I do the first method. Sieve the beans in a bowl and put it aside.
In another pot, saute onion with olive oil until golden. Add gren pepper and saute them together. After they are softened, add tomato and pepper paste, stir it. Then add pastirma and beans together. Sprinkle salt and cumin in it. Stir it a few times. Now pour some water (the level of water should be a bit higher than the beans). Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat. Check the beans, if they are not soft enough, cook it more. You can reach the highest pleasure by eating this delicious dish with pilaf and some pickles.