There are mainly two kinds of red meat in Turkish cuisine, lamb and veal. Many Turkish people love lamb more than veal. That may be the reason for its high price.
Nomadic people at Central Asia tamed sheep to use its meat, milk and wool about ten thousand years ago from now. And shepherding became common as a life style all around Middle East. Although there was a changeable climate in this region of the world, the number of flocks of sheep increased a lot. This may be the reason why sheep is the animal, which is mentioned the most in several holy books.
Before the process of taming, there were wild sheep on the mountains of Middle East and there was a tradition in that region of people, who were mostly Turks. They wouldn’t name their sons until he went to the forest alone and hunted an animal, mostly a wild ram. After this achievement, they would give a special name to their sons representing his heroic action. And the most common lamb cooking style of Turks was roasting it on wood fire as a whole.
A 2,5meter strong stick is needed for roasting the lamb on fire. The stick is inserted into the cleaned sheep. But cleaning process requires utmost attention. While flaying the animal, not damaging the underneath of its skin is so important. Any damages here prevents cooking it well. After discarding the innards and flaying, it’s ready to be placed over wood fire. After inserting the stick through the animal, you need to take care of the fire. It shouldn’t be just under the animal, but it should give its heat from corners and its heat should be low to cook the lamb very slowly. And if the woods are from a pine tree, it’s better. Then it is roasted by turning it over gradually.
This cooking style is not so common any longer as people are living in large buildings, but there are still some restaurants serving lamb roasted in this way.
Our favorite red meat is lamb as many Turkish people, but as we don’t have the chance of roasting it over wood fire, we cook it in oven.
Fırında Domatesli Kuzu Eti
- 4 lamb arm chops
- 5tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tomatoes
Wash and clean the lamb chops well. Wait them in 3 tbsp olive oil for about an hour.
Then put them (with the olive oil) in a pot and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes. The pot should be covered during this time. When it reaches 20 minutes, sprinkle some salt on it and cover the pot again. Then check it if it softens enough. If it’s done, take it from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Peel and chop the tomatoes and garlic cloves. Saute them in 2 tbsp olive oil until tender.
Brush an oven proof tray with little oil. Place the lamb chops in it. Top them with the tomato sauce you prepare. And cook it in oven about 30 minutes. then garnish it with fresh or dried rosemary (I used dried).
I thought that it would be great to serve these with some roasted vegetables. I had been planning to try Jenn’s recipe of Baked Zucchini Sticks& Coins for some time, so I decided to serve this scrumptious roasted lamb with baked zucchini sticks. I loved Jenn’s idea to bake them in oven as it requires no frying. I made some changes in her recipe and it was still fine. You can see the original recipe here. Mine is as follows:
- 1 large zucchini
- ½ cup crumbled bread
- 3 tbsp sesame
- 1 egg
- ½ cup crumbled feta
Peel the zucchini (Ileft some rind on it). Cut it in sticks.
Mix sesame and crumbled bread in a bowl.
In another bowl, beat the egg and add feta in it, mix well.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Lay a greased baking sheet in an oven tray.
Grab a stick, steep it into egg-feta mixture. Then coat it with sesame-crumbled bread mixture and place on the baking sheet. Repeat this until all sticks finish.
And cook them in oven 30 minutes.
As an alternative for Jenn’s Marinara Sauce, I prepared a yogurt sauce simply mixing a cup of yogurt with mashed garlic. To serve the food, I put two roasted lamb chops, baked zucchini sticks and fresh dill on a plate. Dipping these baked zucchini sticks into yogurt while having our roasted lamb made us feel as if we were in heaven.