VICTORIA'S TURLI TAVA (MACEDONIAN VEGETABLE STEW WITH CHICKEN)
Olive oil to coat bottom of pan
1 or 2 large onions
2 red peppers
1 or 2 zucchini
1 to 2 cups okra
2 chicken breasts, boned and cut up as for stew
Salt and chili pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic
¼ to ½ cup chopped celery leaves
1 or 2 very large tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).
Put olive oil in bottom of large oven-proof pan; a clay dish is more traditional, but use what you have. Cut next six ingredients into large chunks and sauté 10 minutes. Stir in chicken pieces and cook another 20 minutes. Add salt and chili pepper. Remove from stovetop. Slice half the tomato and lay on top in a nice pattern. Chop garlic without removing skin and scatter on top. Shred remaining tomato and pour on top, keeping it to the edges around the sliced tomato. Garnish with chopped celery leaves or parsley. Cover and place in oven.
Check occasionally to see if more liquid is needed; if it is, add a little water. After 15 minutes, increase temperature to 260 Celsius (500 Fahrenheit) and cook another half hour.
For background details see my post Bitola, Best-Kept Secret in the Balkans
I’m constantly collecting recipes as part of Our Mediterranean Comfort Food Tour. I take extensive notes, film every bit of the process I can, and review the details with the chef. I strive for accuracy, but as you can see from the videos, measurements are usually by eye, and the ingredients may be subtly different than what we find at home. Since I’m on the road, I have not had the opportunity to test any of these recipes in my own kitchen. If you do try a recipe and have comments or suggestions for refining it, please let me know.