Turkish Recipes

Baked Rooster and Rice (Tavuklu Kapama)

For each Eid / Bayram, one of my aunts made "the traditional" version of this dish, as is common among Balkan immigrants in Thrace in northwestern Turkey: pieces of lamb cooked in white rice. Over time, chicken was replaced by lamb as the number of picky children in the family increased. I tried very hard not to eat the dish just because it was mixed and oh so uninteresting. white rice and slightly dry chicken. I experimented with this dish when the main chef at my favorite restaurant "esnaf lokantasi" (branded restaurant) in Ankara shared his tips on keeping the chicken moist and the dish interesting. I think I did it (even my picky 7 year old compliments me for doing this) and this version is absolutely delicious, but you can create your own alternate rice with other grains or chicken with lamb. I also like bulgur or buckwheat, but this version is the kids favorite in our house.

6-8 chicken drumsticks (or any part)
1 bay leaf
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp peppercorns
some parsley
2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped ~ 1/2 cup
2 cups of white rice
1 cup of grated tomatoes
2 tomatoes, cut into 4 slices
~ 8 shishito peppers (or any kind you want)
1 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
salt pepper
1 tbsp or more yogurt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika

-Put chicken drumstick / pieces in a large saucepan lid with water 2 inches across. Add bay leaf, cloves of garlic, peppercorn, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Don't throw away the water. Drain and save.

– Heat the olive oil and butter in a cast iron or steel saucepan with a wide bottom (which can go into the oven)r. (The one in the picture 11.75 "diameter, 2.13" depth)

– Add onions and cook on medium heat for approx. 7-9 minutes until soft.

– Add grated tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.

– Add rice, stir for a few minutes until tomatoes are soaked.

– Add 4 cups of chicken broth that you saved. Add dried mint, salt and black pepper and wait for it to start boiling.

– As soon as it starts to bubble, turn it off. Place drumsticks in any pattern.

– Place peppers and tomato slices between the pieces of chicken.

– Mix the yogurt, tomato paste and paprika. Spread this mixture on drum sticks with a brush. This will help them have a nice color and keep them deliciously moist.

-Bake in a preheated oven at 380F for ~ 30 minutes until rice absorbs all of the water.

– Take it out and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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