Bulgarian Spring Casseroles with Lamb and Potatoes
Recipe by Ivanka Tsarova
The finished casseroles are best if baked in individual clay pots, or gyuvetchki
700g (1.5 lbs.) boneless lamb meat
2 small onions
1 small globe eggplant or 2 medium Japanese eggplants
A handful of fresh or frozen peas
A handful of fresh or frozen green beans
2 fresh carrots
5 waxy potatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
Dried spearmint (Джоджен)
Fresh vegetables bring delightful textures and colors to this simple casserole, making it a real celebration for the taste buds.
Cut the lamb into bite-sized cubes, about 5 or 6 pieces per portion. Salt and pepper each piece and drench the meat in oil. Set it aside and prepare the vegetables.
Wash each vegetable well. Peel and cut away the inedible parts. Chop the eggplant into half-inch cubes, salt the pieces and place them in a colander to drain. Chop remaining veggies in similarly sized small cubes.
Sear the lamb by frying it quickly on all sides in a little butter. Remove the meat from the skillet. Lightly sauté the onions and carrots, just so that these veggies will pick up the flavors from the pan. Add the potatoes and continue to sauté. It’s nice to put a pinch of salt to each addition. Salting each component as it is added is one of the secrets of creating the most delicious food.
Add the peppers, eggplant, green beans, red pepper, peeled and chopped tomato, and the peas (if using frozen, just toss them directly into the pan.) Add the paprika, mint, and black pepper and give everything a final stir before transferring it to the casseroles or gyuvetchi. Do not add water! Add a little more seasoning and paprika to each pot and cover.
Bake for one hour at 350-375 degrees F. About 10 minutes before removing the pots from the oven, remove the lids so that each tip and corner of meat or vegetable that dared poke its edges above the others will toast just a bit.
Serve with your favorite Thracian red wine and enjoy!