A hearty Ottoman-inspired menu, perfect for a chilly weekend 

A hearty Ottoman-inspired menu, perfect for colder nights 
Want a change from curry? Bring a little sunshine to the table with colourful dishes inspired by central Turkey Credit: Steven Joyce

As the cooler autumnal weather draws in and the nights get longer, I’ve taken inspiration from central Turkey for this hearty feast. Anatolia has such an opulent food 
history, with many decadent Ottoman dishes still prepared today.

Lamb is a key ingredient, and my stew below is a riff on a wonderful dish called sac kavurma, meaning ‘fried on an iron plate’, in reference to the broad object it’s traditionally cooked on.

To make it easier, I’ve used a wok, heated until smoking to give a fierce sear to the meat, which then mellows in the sauce.

To serve with it, something to soak up the rich flavours – a bulgur pilaf can feel like a meal in itself, so I’ve turned it into more of a warm salad, cooking the cracked wheat in stock then finishing with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

And then simple roast beetroot with yogurt and 
walnuts, which brings everything together perfectly. I love the combination of the hot vegetables and cold, creamy dairy.

John Gregory-Smith creates an Ottoman-inspired feast for autumn Credit: Sophia spring

Roast beetroot salad with walnuts and dill

This simple plate of roast beetroot with yogurt and 
walnuts brings everything together perfectly. I love the combination of the hot vegetables and cold, creamy dairy. 

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 60 minutes 

SERVES

four as a side

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g raw beetroot, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice and zest 
of ½ lemon
  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • 20g walnuts, bashed into a rubble
  • a small handful of chopped dill

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/
160C fan/gas mark 4.
  2. Put the beetroot in a roasting dish and add a tablespoon of the oil, and a good pinch of 
salt and pepper. Toss and roast for 50-60 minutes until tender, turning the beetroot over halfway through.
  3. Remove from the oven, squeeze over 
the lemon juice and 
set to one side to 
cool slightly.
  4. Swirl the yogurt on a serving dish and top with the beetroot wedges. Spoon over any juices from the pan.
  5. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil 
and garnish with the lemon zest, walnuts 
and dill.