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Best of the Best Vol. 11
from the editors of Food & Wine
Mediterranean Harvest, Martha Rose Shulman

This dish—from Edirne, an early capital of the Ottoman Empire—has all the complexity of the sophisticated palace cooking of Istanbul, with sweet, spicy, and savory overtones and a mixture of mint, dill, and parsley that define the dish as Turkish. Although there are a lot of ingredients in the stew, it's very uncomplicated to cook.
Serves 4


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon brown sugar or 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or lemon juice
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped; or 1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
4 ounces leaf spinach
1/2 pound dried chick peas, cooked and drained; or 2 cans (15 ounces each) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a mix of flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint
Lemon wedges
Drained yogurt

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic, cumin, and fennel seeds. Cook until the onion has colored slightly, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sugar and stir together for a minute, then stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, and Aleppo pepper. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach, chick peas, and salt (about 1 teaspoon). Add enough water so that the dish can simmer. Simmer uncovered over medium heat, stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes.

The stew should be saucy but not watery. Add salt to taste and stir in the herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and yogurt.

Advance Preparation: This dish keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator, and benefits from being made ahead.

Editor's Note: Greek yogurt is strained (the watery whey is drained out), making it thick and creamy—perfect for serving with this stew. It's available in the dairy section of most markets.


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