Tag: Beef Recipe

Legendary Dishes | Hakkebøf med Bløde Løg og Brun Sovs (burger with soft onions and brown sauce)


Traditionally made with soft onions and served with a brown sauce on boiled or roasted potatoes and cold or warm salad, a 1:1 ratio of beef to veal is preferred to increase the meat to fat ratio. Modern versions include the burgers served in bread buns, with green beans or baked in the oven with an aromatic tomato sauce. The burgers can be fried, grilled and baked.


  • 400 g onions / shallots, sliced
  • 15 g butter
  • 15 ml oil
  • Water (optional)

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Fry onions or shallots over a medium heat they take on colour. Remove from saucepan into a dish and drain butter-oil back into the pan. Set aside while the burgers are fried. Place onions or shallots back in pan, gently carmelise over a low heat. Drain butter-oil into the roast potato dish. If softened onions are preferred add two or three tablespoons of water and heat through.


  • 250 g beef, minced
  • 250 g veal, minced
  • 5 g butter + 1 tsp oil
  • 10 g black pepper, ground
  • 5 salt

Thoroughly work the seasoning into the meat, divide into four equal balls, flatten and criss-cross with a sharp knife. Fry until cooked or brown in frying pan, and bake in a 175ºC oven.


  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled, quartered
  • 30 ml vegetable oil (optional)

Boil or roast. If roast, place a layer of oil in a baking dish, heat, then coat potatoes in the oil. Bake at 220ºC for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 180ºC for 20 minutes while the burgers are baked.

Brown Sauce

  • 400 ml beef stock
  • 15 g white wheat flour
  • 5 g green pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp kulør (brown caramel colouring) / thick soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Whisk the flour with the cold stock. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer over a low heat for ten minutes. Add a splash of brown colouring or soy sauce.

Serve the burgers with the roast potatoes, carmelised or softened onions and brown sauce.

Legendary Dishes | Aubergines Farcies au Fromage et à L’oignon (stuffed aubergines)

  • 1.2 kg (4) aubergines
  • 300 g beef, minced
  • 300 g onions
  • 230 g Reblochon cheese
  • 100 g bacon, cubed
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Preheat oven to 210ºC.

Slice the top off each aubergine, place in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil.

Bake for 60 minutes.

Sauté shallots in butter and a tablespoon of vegetable oil for 15 minutes until they take on colour, add the minced beef, brown. Add the bacon, white wine and seasonings,.Turn heat to low, cook for 10 minutes.

Take the aubergine tray out of the oven and with a teaspoon scoop out the flesh onto a board, chop into mush, add the meat mixture and mix thoroughly.

Put the aubergine-meat mixture into the cavities of the baked aubergines.

Slice the Reblochon. Place the slices on top of each stuffed aubergine.

Put the aubergine tray back into the oven, bake for 8 minutes until the cheese melts.


Cheese with the rind left on will hold its shape.

With the rind removed the cheese will melt over the edges and take on a brown sheen. It will also produce a crisp crust.

Indigenous Ingredients


Legendary Dishes | Mėsos Vyniotinis su Kiaušiniais (meat-coated hard-boiled eggs)


Coating an egg with a flavoured meat mixture is a traditional recipe that got away in most food cultures.

Now known as a Scotch egg, this delectable home-made delicacy became indelicate when the commercial versions jumped off the shelves, ready to eat.

This is the Lithuanian version.

  • 250 g pork, minced
  • 250 g beef, minced
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, cooled
  • 1 gherkin, pickled, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, cubed small
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp oregano, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10 g fresh dill, fresh, chopped
  • 10 g coriander, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, pinch

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Combine the meat with the egg yolk, carrots, gherkin, herbs, saffron and seasonings.

Divide meat mixture into four portions, place one portion on a rectangle of cling film, flatten, put egg on top.

Use the cling film to shape the meat around the egg.

Repeat with remaining eggs and portions.

Arrange eggs on a greased tray.

Bake for an hour.

Legendary Dishes | Tabrizi Kufta (meat loaf)


After Azerbaijan became an independent republic in 1991 it began a process of reconciliation with its distant past. Being part of the Soviet Union changed every aspect of life in Azerbaijan. One aspect was the existence of a diaspora across the border in Iran. Another was the impact on Azerbaijani culture.

The Soviet occupation, according to Pirouz Khanlou, ‘impacted the traditional cuisine that had emerged over thousands of years’. Very gradually the people of Azerbaijan are rediscovering that culture.

One such dish is this fabulous kufta, a meat loaf fundamentally associated with Tabriz in Iran, fondly remembered in Baku, now an integral aspect of modern Azerbaijani cuisine.

  • 3 litres water
  • 2 kg beef, minced
  • 1.6 kg chicken, baked, wings removed
  • 600 g onions, chopped
  • 500 g lentils, yellow-split, cooked
  • 500 g rice, cooked
  • 5 eggs (1 hard-boiled)
  • 150 g plums / prunes
  • 100 g sour cherries
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 50 g almonds, blanched
  • 20 g mint, chopped
  • 20 g savory, chopped
  • 10 g tarragon, chopped
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g chives, chopped
  • 5 g saffron
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Sauté half of the onions over a medium heat until they begin to turn brown, about 30 minutes, leave to cool.

Grate the remaining onions. Mash lentils and rice with a fork, combine with grated onions. Work this mixture into the beef, add eggs, fried onions, herbs and seasonings. Knead for 10 minutes until the fat starts to separate from the ‘dough’. Leave to rest.

Toast the almonds and walnuts in oil over a low heat for ten minutes, remove and chop into small pieces. Spread the dough on a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Stuff hard-boiled egg, plums or prunes and cherries into the cavity of the baked chicken.

Place the chicken on the dough. Wrap the towel around the chicken to encase it tightly with the dough, forming a small soccer ball.

Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the ball, add saffron and large pinches of salt and pepper.

Cover, simmer for two hours.

Legendary Dishes | Rolitos / Brajoli (layered meat rolls)


Generally the tradition throughout Europe is to use pork or veal to make layered meat rolls, but Malta and Gibraltar share the beef method, as a consequence of their culinary and cultural connections. It is not unusual to see rolitos made with chicken.


  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 320 g beef (rump or sirloin), cut into 4 pieces, each flattened into 10 cm x 16 cm rectangles
  • 1 aubergine, cut length-wise 2 cm thick into 4 slices, grilled
  • 50 g hard cheese, grated
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cured ham (serrano) slices
  • 30 ml olive oil, for marinade
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 4 toothpicks

Bring stock to a low boil.

Marinade aubergines, garlic and tomatoes in the oil for 30 minutes.

Grill aubergines and tomatoes, leave to cool in juice and oil from grill pan.

Season meat, place ham on top of each piece followed by the aubergine slice, four tomatoes halves, grated cheese and two basil leaves.

Roll tightly, secure with toothpick.

Simmer in stock for 90 minutes.

Bragioli / Brajoli

Maltese traditional cuisine can be very tasty without using the very best cuts of meat. This tasty speciality is part of the Maltese peasant and rustic recipes, that can also be served as two meals, using the sauce with pasta as a first course.

  • 600 g topside / round beef, cut into 100 g slices, flattened with a mallet
  • 500 g beef mince / veal mince
  • 120 g gbejniet cheese, grated
  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten


500 ml water
300 g onions, diced
250 ml red wine
250 g tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
5 g pepper
5 g salt
2 bay leaves

Start with the sauce: chop and fry onion and garlic in olive oil until softened and golden.

Add tomatoes, herbs, red wine and water and leave to simmer while you prepare the bragioli.

First, lay out the beef slices. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Place then a heaped tablespoon of stuffing mixture on each beef slice, spreading out well.

Roll it up and secure it with a toothpicks or tie with butcher’s twine. Place the bragioli in the sauce and simmer for 90 minutes over low heat.

Legendary Dishes | Mish me Jahni (meat stew)

  • 2 kg onions, chopped small
  • 2 kg beef / veal, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 250 ml water
  • 90 g butter
  • 60 ml red wine
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 30 g paprika
  • 15 g salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 g cinnamon, ground
  • Black pepper, pinch

Put the chopped onions into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss and leave covered for an hour.

Heat oil in a frying pan, brown meat in batches, place in a large pot with the onions, butter and water.

Deglaze the frying pan with wine, add to pot. Bring to a low boil, add bay
leaves, cinnamon and half of the paprika. Cover and cook over a low heat for 90 minutes.

Add remaining paprika, cook for an hour until the meat is tender.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Indigenous Ingredients

Beef / Veal
Red Pepper

Legendary Dishes | Ðevrek Pljeskavice (doughnut {bagel} burgers)


The đevrek is a bagel-shaped burger flavoured with bacon, cheese, garlic, onion and hot paprika pepper baked on or under a grill, served with cream or cheese in the hole. Veal is preferred to beef, taken from the neck and shoulder, with a small amount of bacon and pork.

  • 800 g beef / veal (shoulder, neck), minced
  • 100 g bacon / speck, chopped small
  • 100 g pork belly, minced
  • 100 g shallots, chopped small
  • 75 g hard cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed, minced
  • 2 tbsp spring water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 10 g red pepper flakes
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt


  • 120 g cream / hard curd cheese (feta)

In a bowl squeeze the minced meat until the fat begins to separate onto the bowl. Combine the minced meat with the water, shallots, bacon, pork belly, garlic, cheese and seasonings in that order.

Using a little oil on the fingers, roll into long sausage shapes, bring each edge around into a circle, press edges together.

Grill for seven minutes, turn over and grill for five minutes. Place cheese or cream in the hole, grill for three minutes.

Indigenous Ingredients

Beef / Veal

Legendary Dishes | Gehacktesbällchen (beef meatballs)


The traditional meatball in Germany was always a liasion – a delicate preparation with chopped or minced beef, stale bread, egg and seasonings – served generally in a soup or with a sauce.

Occasionally a small onion or a shallot, a teaspoon or two of mustard and a garden herb would be added to give some depth of flavour to the meat.

Meatballs cooked in a broth to make meatball soup is a tradition shared by all the northern European countries.

Some cooks would add root vegetables.

In Germany meatballs were cooked in a meat broth with potatoes and sometimes the meatballs flavoured the potato water.

  • 500 g beef, minced
  • 50 g onion / shallots, chopped small (optional)
  • 50 g stale bread soaked in 175 ml full-fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt
  • 3 sage leaves / 3 sprigs thyme (optional)
  • Oil, for frying

Press liquid out of bread and transfer to the shallots. Leave them to soften for about an hour, then add to the beef with the bread. Combine with the egg, mustard, egg, thyme and seasonings, knead into a loose dough.

Divide into 30 gram pieces, shape into small balls.

Brown in a frying pan for a few minutes.

Serve in soup, or in a sauce.

Legendary Dishes | Kartoffelsuppe mit Hackbällchen (potato soup with meatballs)

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 600 g potatoes, peeled, cut into 4 cm cubes
  • 500 g beef mince with high fat content
  • 150 g onion, sliced
  • 16 croutons 2 cm cubed
  • 5 g + 5 g salt
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs, for garnish
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp oil, for frying

Place the potatoes in a pot with the water, add salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer.

Combine the mince with the seasonings, shape into 50 gram balls. Heat frying pan, add oil and fry the balls in batches over a high heat. Remove to a plate.

Add a little more oil to the pan, fry onions until they start to take on colour at the edges.

Add the meatballs, onions and seasonings to the potato pot.

Deglaze the frying pan with a tablespoon of liquid from the potato pot, add the deglazed liquid to the pot.

Cook for 30 minutes, until the potatoes have melted into the soup.

Serve with a garnish of croutons and herbs.

Legendary Dishes | Pastitsio (pasta bake)


Tourists visiting the Mediterranean islands of Crete, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily and Sardinia might be forgiven for thinking there is an ad hoc competition among their restaurants to see who produces the best pasta bake. The Greeks of course will tell you their pastitsio is the best and the rest are mere imitations.

And there is the dilemma, each chef – domestic and professional – has their own interpretation, albeit subtle tweaks that are not always discernable.

We have favoured an eastern Mediterranean sensibility with cheese custard for the topping rather than a white sauce, thick tube pasta cooked and dressed with eggs and cheese, and a meat filling flavoured with onion, marjoram, mint, parsley and thyme.


  • 500 g penne / rigatoni pasta
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 90 g hard cheese
  • 60 g butter
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 2 gratings of nutmeg


  • 750 g beef / lamb / pork mince
  • 250 g onion, thin sliced
  • 125 ml meat stock
  • 45 ml dry white wine
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt
  • 5 sprigs parsley, chopped small
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped small
  • 5 sprigs marjoram
  • 5 sprigs thyme


  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • 500 g halloumi cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 45 g cornflour
  • 30 ml water


  • 90 g kefalotiri cheese / hard cheese, grated
  • Butter, for greasing

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, drain and place in a large bowl. Melt butter and pour over the pasta. Add the cheese and seasonings, toss, add eggs and toss again. Set aside.

Sauté onion in oil for 10 minutes, add the meat and cook until brown. Add the wine, stock, herbs and seasonings, simmer for 20 minutes until almost all of the liquid has been reduced. Leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and milk for the topping in a pot, bring slowly to the boil. Whisk the water into the cornflour, pour slowly into the egg-milk mixture, heat gradually until the mixture begins to thicken, add the cheese.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Grease a large baking tray, place half of the pasta mixture on the bottom, follow with the meat mixture, the remaining pasta mixture and the cheese custard. Sprinkle the top with the grated hard cheese.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Bobotie (baked spiced meatloaf with custard top)

A slice of bobotie with geelrys (yellow rice)


Some years ago a battle over the authenticity, fidelity and ownership of bobotie, a type of meatloaf with a custard crust, shone a bright light on Cape Malay traditional cuisine.

Salwaa Smith, author of Cape Malay Cooking and Other Delights, produced her version of the recipe. ‘I did lots of research into authentic Cape Malay recipes and all the articles I came across was of the notion that bobotie is a Cape Malay dish which came with slaves who arrived from Java and various Indonesian islands in 1658. Being slaves, the Malays often ended up in the Dutch kitchens and their influence remains apparent in dishes such as bobotie.’

The meat mixture for bobotie

Salwaa Smith featured the battle in her web magazine. It includes links to the ‘rainbow’ versions of bobotie and the use of particular ingredients, of which the spices are constant, if not the quanity. The amount is personal and curry powder can replace the individual spices, between 15 grams and 25 grams plus one teaspoon of turmeric per per 500 grams of meat. Garlic is generally a background flavour, between one and two cloves for the same amount of meat.

Our version is an adaptation of Salwaa Smith’s recipe.

This is a Cape Town version by Sonia Cabano.


  • 500 g beef / lamb (or 50:50 combination), minced
  • 300 g onions, chopped
  • 150 g stale bread soaked in 300 ml water + juice of 1 lemon (lemon is optional)
  • 125 g sultanas (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 10 g fresh galangal pounded into a paste with 30 ml water (optional)
  • 10 g tamarind concentrate loosened in 30 ml hot water
  • 30 ml oil
  • 3 tsp white peppercorns, ground
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed (optional)
  • 2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 6 bay leaves / lemon leaves / lime leaves


  • 250 ml full-fat milk
  • 3 eggs

Sauté onions in oil in a frying pan until they soften and start to colour at the edges, about 15 minutes.

Reduce heat and stir garlic, galangal paste, ground spices, salt, turmeric, and 2 of the leaves into the onions, cook for a few minutes.

Deglaze pan with a tablespoon of water. This will form a paste.

Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Combine the meat with the onion mixture, lemon or tamarind juice, egg and sugar plus, if using, the sultanas.

Press the liquid from the bread, thoroughly blend into the meat mixture.

Chilli in a refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably four hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Grease an ovenproof dish about 6 centimetres deep.

Press the meat mixture into the dish, smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, puncture the surface with a fork in several places and leave to cool a little.

Whisk the eggs into the milk, pour over the baked meat. Push 4 leaves into the egg-milk mixture.

Return dish to the oven, bake until the custard has cooked and formed a golden brown crust, about 20 minutes.

THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Üsküdar | İçli Köfte (bulgur meatballs)

Crust (dough)
  • 500 ml  water, boiled
  • 350 g bulgur, fine ground
  • 150 g semolina, fine ground
  • 30 g walnuts, fine ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Semolina, coarse, for coating

Soak bulgar and semolina in the hot water, leave to rest for 30 minutes, then add the walnuts and seasonings. Wet hands and knead into a soft dough.

Core (filling)
  • 250 g beef, double minced
  • 200 g onions, chopped
  • 100 g walnuts, coarse chopped / fine ground
  • 4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • 45 g red pepper paste / tomato paste (quantity optional)
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml pomegranate molasses
  • 15 g  red pepper (paprika) flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac, ground

Sauté onions in oil, about 15 minutes. Add the meat, break and fry for three minutes. Add paprika, sumac and walnuts. Increase heat, stir for three minutes until the walnuts release their oil. Stir in the molasses and paste, leave to cool.

If desired, work the herbs into the mixture. Divide dough into walnut-sized pieces, about 30 g each. Using thumb and forefinger make a cavity with thin sides in the bulgar dough. Place 10 g of filling inside the cavity, push down and fold dough over the filling, seal and shape into a ball.

Deep fry in sunflower oil at 190°C until golden or shallow fry in a large frying pan or bake in a 200°C oven or boil in salted water.

Note: The pastes can be bought in jars but they are easy to make if good fresh red peppers and tomatoes, preferably Turkish, are available.

Note: For a colourful description on how to make red pepper paste go here.

Note: The crust for icli köfte is not always made with bulgar. Semolina became a crust ingredient along with nuts aeons ago. Wheat grits have also played a part while in more recent centuries potatoes have been combined with eggs and flour. Some recipes call for double-ground meat to be added to the various flours that define the crust. The bulgar can be coarse ground and also fine ground, the latter producing a crispy crust. The cooking method is also variable. According to Sahrap Soysal, author of A Cookery Tale, fried icli köfte are called irok, while the boiled version is known as igdebet.

Legendary Dishes | Pierogi / Pīrāgi / Pirogi Пироги (bread-cake dough pies)


Pies filled closed or open with a combination from apple, cabbage, cheese, egg, mushroom, onion, potato, pumpkin and rice to accompany fish or meat with various aromatics and jams are an integral feature of the traditional food of northern Europe, from the Baltic states across to the Russian heartlands and down to the Ukrainian steppes.

What makes these particular pies unique in traditional cuisine are the various types of dough, which are a cross between a cake dough and a yeast dough with a liquid medium that could be kefir or milk, fat content that could be butter or margarine and sour cream and include potato among the various types of flour.

The sour-sweet combination that is apple, cabbage and onion is the traditional base and after that there are countless variations on numerous themes that include chicken, fish and various meats.

The pies come in all shapes and sizes.


  • 500 g white wheat flour, t550
  • 200 ml milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 1 small egg
  • 60 g sugar
  • 50 g sour cream
  • 25 g butter / margarine, melted
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Dissolve the yeast in 5 tablespoons of the warm milk and one teaspoon of sugar, leave to froth for 15 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the sour cream into the remaining milk and sugar. Add the yeast mixture followed by the melted butter or margarine, and finally the egg and salt with a few swift turns of the whisk each time. Sieve the flour into this mixture, fold out onto a clean work surface and begin to knead.

This is a sticky dough so after 5 minutes add a drop of oil, around a teaspoon, knead for a further 5 minutes, add more oil, knead again for 5 minutes, add oil and knead until the dough is elastic, adding more oil if necessary.

The desired dough temperature is 24ºC.

Leave to rise for two hours, degas, leave to rise again, for another two hours.


  • 1 green cabbage / kale, leaves separated, stems removed, blanched in hot water for 30 minutes, sliced into strips
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 1 kg onions, sliced
  • 1 kg sour apples, peeled, cored, puréed with 30 g sugar
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs (from dill, lovage, marjoram, sage, tarragon)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Fry the onions in 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes until the onions are soft and have taken on colour at the edges.

Divide the onion mixture into three portions.

Put the minced meat in the onion pan, add one third of the cooked onions and gently bring up the heat. When the meat begins to brown low the heat and reduce the liquid content.

Put the blanched cabbage strips in a small pot, add the second third of the cooked onions, cook over a medium heat until the cabbage is soft and the liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes.

Put the last third of the cooked onions in a pot, add 500 grams of apple purée, cook over a high heat until the liquid is reduced.

Grease 4 pie tins. Roll out the dough to a thickness of half a centimetre. Cut into two rounds with a sufficient amount of dough to come up the sides, press into the tins. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut into rounds slightly larger than the diametre of the pie tins.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Spoon the meat-onion mixture onto the bottom of each pie dough, cover with the cabbage-onion mixture followed by the apple-onion mixture. Top with remaining apple purée.

Place the dough rounds on top. Seal the edges of each dough, impress edges with a fork. Pierce the top of each pie with the fork. Glaze the tops with an egg wash.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Mani Plov مانی پلو (lentils, rice, fruit and meat with rice-yoghurt-saffron base)


A cornucopia of flavours, this plov is one of the traditional dishes of Damghan in the province of Semnan in the north-east of Iran. The ingredients vary. It can be made with an assortment of meats or without meat, and with various fruits and nuts. The constant is the marriage of long grain rice with yellow spilt peas, the fragrance of rosewood and saffron and the rice-yoghurt-saffron base. Serve with yoghurt or with a salad. We recommend in summer this orange and onion salad. Variations can be found on Iran Cook.


  • 600 g long grain rice
  • 500 ml water + water for boiling peas and rice
  • 400 g chicken / beef / lamb (optional)
  • 300 g onions, sliced
  • 250 g yellow split peas, soaked for two hours
  • 200 g raisins
  • 60 ml hot water with one teaspoon of rosewood and one teaspoon of saffron
  • 60 ml water
  • 50 g almonds, dry roasted, chopped
  • 15 g dried barberries / 75 g fresh barberries
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying onions and meat + frying fruit


  • 250 g long grain rice, cooked or baked, left to cool
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp saffron
  • 15 g butter to grease the bottom of the pot
  • 15 ml oil to grease the bottom of the pot
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook the peas until al dente, keep warm in cooking water.

Fry the onions in oil in a large frying pan over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes. Add choice of meat, fry until browned, add turmeric, seasonings and water, cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Fry the raisins in oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes, cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 20 minutes.

In a large pot boil 2 litres of water, pour the rice, bring back to the boil, remove from heat, leave for 5 minutes. Strain the rice.

Strain the peas.

Combine the peas and rice in a clean pot, add 400 millilitres of water, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes.

Prepare the base.

Combine cooked or baked rice with the egg, yoghurt, saffron and seasonings.

Melt the butter with the oil over a low heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot, diameter no less than 25 centimeters. Fold the rice-yoghurt-saffron mixture into the pot, gently smooth out to cover the base.

Arrange the meat mixture in an even layer over the rice-yoghurt-saffron base. Sprinkle the barberries on top of the meat mixture. Carefully fold the pea-rice mixture on top of the barberries. Pour the rosewood-saffron water into the pea-rice mixture, finish with a layer of the cooked raisins.

Increase the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Kotletki (meat patties with fruit)


No cookbook about traditional European food would be complete without the basic recipe for kotletki, if only as a reminder that meat was once scarce and ingenious ways were always being invented to transform beef or veal, chicken or turkey, lamb or pork into a tasty dish.

Kotletki are variously called patties or rissoles but they were never meat burgers and, despite the common denominators of soaked white bread, breadcrumbs and spices, they were never odd-shaped meatballs.

Kotletki were and are generally made with beef, but these days they are made with whatever ingredients are in the larder. There are no rules about ingredients, just the method.

This version includes a stuffing of fresh apple and dried apricot in a meat and potato casing.

  • 500 g beef, ground
  • 400 g waxy potatoes, baked whole, mashed
  • 1 sweet apple, cored, peeled, puréed
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g dried apricots, chopped small
  • 5 g dill, chopped
  • Salt, pinch
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, pinch
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Oil, for greasing

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine beef, breadcrumbs, dill, egg, potatoes and seasonings.

Combine apple and apricot in a small bowl.

Divide into 90 gram pieces, cut in half and twin.

Dust flour on a clean surface.

Place each half in the flour, press into thin ovals, 10 cm in diameter. Repeat and keep the twin rounds together.

Put a heaped teaspoon of the apple-apricot mixture on one of the twin rounds, place the second on top. Seal the edges and using a fork make indentations around the edges.

Place the kotletki on a greased baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes until they take on some colour and are crisp at the edges.

Other Kotletki.

Legendary Dishes | Cowboy Stew (aromatic beef and bean stew)


The original cowboy stew made on the range generally contained chuck beef, beef or veal liver, beef or veal heart and sweetbreads seasoned with pepper, salt and hot chilli sauce. Some cow hands would add beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes for a more complete meal, with cornmeal to thicken it.

Nowadays cowboy stew will contain onions and potatoes, and the seasonings with include garlic. Some like it spicy and will add combinations of chillies with cayenne and hot chilli sauce while the youngsters will add cans of baked beans and tomato soup. It is a stew so this is an expedient decision. Tomato paste and tomatoes will release sufficient liquid to cook the meat.

  • 1 kg chuck beef, cubed small
  • 600 g black beans / white beans, pre-cooked
  • 400 g tomatoes, skinned, chopped
  • 250 g whole kernel corn / sweet corn
  • 250 g onions, sliced into half-rings and small pieces
  • 100 g green beans, cut into large pieces
  • 100 g tomato paste
  • 9 green chillies, chopped small
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp hot chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Place all the ingredients into a casserole, a large pot or a slow cooker and gently fold to mix. Allow 8 hours in the slow cooker, two hours at the highest setting, the remainder at the lowest setting. For the pot simmer at lowest setting for 3 hours. For the oven pre-heat to 190ºC (375ºC), after 30 minutes reduce heat to 110ºC (225ºF), bake for 4 hours.

Legendary Dishes | Imqarrun il-forn (pasta bake)


The Maltese version of the Mediterranean pasta bake is unique because of the variable ingredients in the countless versions of the traditional recipe. These include aubergine, pea, pumpkin and tomato for a vegetarian version plus bacon and chicken liver for an enriched meat version. The liver gives the dish an enhanced depth of flavour. Cheese, hard and soft, feature prominently, and ricotta is favoured alongside Italian hard cheese.

Version 1

  • 500 g maccheroni nº37 / rigatoni, cooked al dente
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 250 g semi-hard cheese, grated
  • 200 g beef mince
  • 200 g bacon, diced
  • 200 g chicken livers, diced
  • 200 g pork mince
  • 150 ml chicken jelly / beef stock
  • 100 g onions, chopped
  • 60 g tomato paste
  • 15 g butter
  • 50 g parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a deep saucepan sauté onions and garlic in oil for five minutes over a low heat, add the bacon followed by the pork mince and the beef mince. Cook for ten minutes. Add the livers, stir and cook for five minutes.

Pour in stock, bring to boil, simmer for 20 minutes, then add tomato paste and purée. Remove from heat.

Cook and drain pasta. Rinse in cold water to arrest the cooking process, then combine it with the meat mixture.

Stir the half of the cheese into the eggs with some seasonings. Add to the meat and pasta mixture.

Pour pasta mixture into a greased deep casserole dish, season and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Version 2

Without the garlic and liver this version is suitable for children.

  • 500 g long macaroni
  • 500 g passata
  • 500 g ricotta
  • 5 eggs + 2 eggs hard-boiled, chopped
  • 300 g pork mince
  • 300 g hard cheese, grated
  • 200 g beef mince
  • 200 g bacon, chopped small
  • 100 g chicken liver, chopped small (optional)
  • 100 g water
  • 60 g tomato paste
  • 30 g sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed (optional)
  • 15 g black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

In a large frying pan pour in the passata, tomato paste, and water add the beef mince and pork mince followed a few minutes later by the bacon and, if using, chicken liver and, if using, garlic, bring to a low boil, reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes.

Set aside to cool

Cook the macaroni until al dente.

Drain macaroni and rinse in cold water, mix with the sauce.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

In a large bowl beat the eggs vigorously, add 200 g of the cheese, grind in the pepper, add the salt and the ricotta, mix.

Blend cheese-egg mixture with the macaroni mixture.

Pour into a large casserole dish.

Spread the hard-boiled eggs on top, cover with remaining grated cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Imqarrun il-forn

This pasta bake can be reheated with a little water in a covered casserole dish, but it is easily refried in a large frying pan with a small amount of oil and given a crispy surface under the grill.

Legendary Dishes | Croquetas del Puchero (juicy meat croquettes)


Croquettes are among the most popular, traditional snack foods on the Iberian Peninsula, especially loved by the Andalusians who fill them with beef, cheese and potato, chicken, cod, mushrooms, mussels among other idiomatic food items and the special ingredient that makes them sublime.

This is a velouté, a sauce made with a puchero broth.

Another special ingredient is the breadcrumbs, which should come from a good quality loaf, that have been allowed to dry.

These are the meat croquettes with that Puchero flavour.

Velouté Sauce

  • 250 ml Puchero broth (see Puchero Gaditano)
  • 30 g white wheat flour
  • 30 g butter
  • 5 g green pepper / white pepper
  • Nutmeg, 5 gratings
  • Salt, very large pinch

Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the butter, allow to melt, add flour and pepper, and stir with a wooden spoon to form a paste. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and gradually add the broth. Stir constantly and thicken. Add the nutmeg, fold in. Leave to cool.


  • 300 g beef, chicken and ham meat cooked in Puchero broth, shredded
  • 200 g onion, chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 g parsley, chopped
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt


  • 90 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 25 g flour


  • Oil, for frying

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the onions take on some colour. Add the parsley and leave to cool.

Put the meat into a large bowl, season. When the onion-garlic mixture is cold, mix it by hand into the meat. Add the velouté sauce.

Prepare the breadcrumbs, egg and flour.

Using wet hands take a sufficient amount to hold easily in the palm of the hand, shape into croquettes, roll in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Set aside and repeat the procedure until all the filling mixture is used up.

There should be around ten croquettes, about 65 grams each.

Place one centimetre of oil in a small frying pan, bring heat to 180ºC. Shallow-fry the croquettes until they are golden-brown on the outside, about three minutes.

Alternatively place on a non-stick tray, bake in the oven at 200ºC for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.

The croquettes should have a crisp crust and a juicy centre.

Legendary Dishes | Holländische Frikandel (Dutch minced meat sausages)


These sausages are enigmatic because they have a curious history. In Belgium and northern France they are called fricadelles, in other areas of France boulette de viande hachée (minced meat ball). However in the Netherlands they are called something else, so bear with us for a few minutes while we explain the history of these enigmatic sausages.

  • 500 g beef, minced
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 500 g chicken / turkey, minced
  • 200 ml chicken / meat jelly
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 g breadcrumbs
  • 100 g onion, chopped small, blended into a pureé with garlic
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped small, blended into a pureé with onion
  • 3 tbsp dried herbs
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 nutmeg, grated
  • 15 cloves, blended or pounded into powder
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, blended or pounded into powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 pieces of clingfilm 30 cm x 20 cm

In a large bowl knead the garlic-onion pureé, seasonings and spices into the minced meat for about ten minutes. Add the eggs and jelly, work into the meat mixture. Finally fold in the breadcrumbs to form a homegenous mixture.

Arrange a sheet of clingfilm on a clean surface. With moist hands place 100 grams of the mixture in the centre of the clingfilm. Wrap the clingfilm over the mixture, shape into 15 cm long sausages. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Replace the clingfilm after seven sausages.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Bake the sausages for 35 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Mešano Meso (mixed grill)

Mixture for the mixed grill dish called cevap

Serbia is a culinary gateway. It leads in various directions to the fabulous food of the people who have inhabited the Balkan lands for thousands of years.

The Ottoman influence is still present but as each of the Balkan countries and regions assert their own cultural identities in the fast lanes of the 21st century, the slow food of past centuries becomes prominent. Among these are the methods used to cook meat, especially beef, chicken, pork and veal.

At Cevap kod Dekija on Strahinjića Bana 71 in old Belgrade, between the Danube and Sava rivers, they make the argument that the grill does not always indicate fast food. ‘It is one of the best and healthiest ways to prepare meat,’ they say and it is hard to argue with them or with this food identity.

beef rissoles

Their specialties, made with high quality cuts and products of beef and veal cooked over beech charcoal, epitomise the mešano meso culture of Serbia. These include burgers, sausages and the rissoles known as cevap and ćevapčiči made from ground beef and seasonings.

Cevap / Ćevapčići

  • 1 kg beef, minced
  • 45 ml water
  • 10 g sweet paprika, ground
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g pepper
  • Olive oil, for greasing

Bring all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead until the fat in the meat starts to separate onto the hands. Leave to stand for an hour in a cold place.

Shape into croquettes, about 10 cm long, 3 cm thick.

Oil a grill and place them together without touching each other. Grill, turning several times, until they are cooked.

Serve with onions and paprika in lepinje.