The main ingredient of the recipe is pastirma, a sun-dried beef meat wrapped in a red layer of spice paste made of crushed garlic, powdered chili pepper, ground cumin and fenugreek seeds. It is said that this preparation dates back from the times Turkish horsemen dried their meat to better carry it along their long rides in the vast steppes of Central Asia.
This Turkish deli product which is cut into paper thin slices is also found in neighbouring countries such as Syria, Greece, Egypt but also in the Near East such as in Jordan, where it is called "bastirma". Nowadays, pastirma is even exported to Europe.
Barely 40% of the meat thus dried and spiced is actually sold as pastirma, the rest going into the preparation of the local spicy sausages called "suçuk", which can be found everywhere. Pastirma is also used in a typical dish of white dried beans cooked with onions and tomatoes. The city of Kayseri, in Cappadocia, is particularly famous for its local pastirma.
The recipe is given here mainly for its anecdotic value, for two good reasons: the unlikeliness of finding pastirma for one, but also because this deli product is enjoyed at a cost: the garlic and spicy flavors of pastirma go right through body fluids, urine but also perspiration. For at least two or three days, body odors will force pastirma consumers into hiding... next to the washing machine.
- 2 lemons cut into very thin slices
- salt and pepper
Take a piece of aluminium foil twice the size of your flat oven dish.
Wrap the inside with one side of this aluminium foil, the other half will later be folded on top.
Dispose the alternate slices of pastirma as you would lay tiles, alternating fine layers of pastirma with fine slices of lemon.
Finish with one layer of pastirma slices.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Close the aluminium foil on this preparation, carefully sealing sides by folding the foil over itself.
Bake for about 15 minutes at 250° C.
When cutting the foil open with a knife, mind the burning steam trapped inside!
Serve open-faced and directly in the oven dish.