Here’s a beaut winter dish from Eleanor Ford’s wonderful new recipe book The Nutmeg Trail (Murdoch Books). This colourful and adventurous volume takes us along the fabled spice routes tasting exotic and delicious dishes as we span the globe. And seeing as the wintry weather is with us here in Terra Australis, we thought Eleanor’s recipe for Turkish Winter Vegetables was a great way to get a taste of her fine book. Raves Yotam Ottolenghi of The Nutmeg Trail: “What a deep dive this is into the world of spice…it’s culinary history, a spice library, anatomy and miscellany. And then the spices!”
Turkish Winter Vegetables
(Serves 4 as a substantial side)
Türlü comes from the old Turkic word for ‘assortment’, reflecting that this dish is made with a medley of vegetables, sometimes with the addition of meat. Traditionally they are baked together in a clay pot, though I like to roast them spread out, allowing the flavours to concentrate and sweeten in the heat of the oven. This is a beautiful display of spicing, a gentle dance of floral coriander seeds, smoky pul biber and sweet warmth from cinnamon and allspice.
300g (10½ oz) squash, seeds removed
1 onion, peeled
2 potatoes, scrubbed
3 carrots, scrubbed
2 celery stalks
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons pul biber
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
250ml (1 cup) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
175g (6oz) cooked chickpeas, from a jar or tin
Parsley, mint and dill, to serve
Heat the oven to 210°C (410°F).
Cut the eggplant, squash and onion into wedges of similar size. Cut the potatoes into 2cm (¾ inch) cubes. Thickly slice the carrots, celery and garlic. Put all the vegetables into a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, spices, salt and pepper. Transfer to two large roasting trays – they should lie well-spaced in a single layer so they roast rather than steam.
Roast for around 45 minutes, gently shuffling the vegetables in the tray halfway through and swapping the trays in the oven. When everything is tender with crisp and charred bits at the edges, tip all the vegetables onto one of the trays. Season the passata and gently stir through the vegetables along with the chickpeas. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Tumble onto a serving dish, sprinkling with more salt and pepper if needed, along with a very generous scattering of the fresh herbs.
Lamb roasted with cumin
Or as a vegetarian main course with seasoned yoghurt
Images and text from The Nutmeg Trail by Eleanor Ford, photography by Ola O. Smit. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.