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 details see my post Bitola, Best-Kept Secret in the Balkans
These recipes are being collected as part of my ongoing Mediterranean Comfort Food Tour, a five-month journey around the Mediterranean rim exploring what food can tech us about other cultures — and our own.
SEE MORE COMFORT FOOD RECIPES
Collecting these recipes on the road, I have not yet had the opportunity to test these recipes in my own kitchen. Quantities are usually measured by eye, and ingredients may be subtly different than what we find at home, so results may vary. If you try a recipe and have questions or suggestions for refining it, please let me know.