Turlitava (Macedonian Meat and Vegetable Stew)

Difficulty: intermediate

I made this for my Macedonian friend and he was “pleasantly surprised” at how amazing it was and it reminded him of home. Now I feel bad that his home is a piece of shit. There are two unique ingredients in this dish, okra (ladyfinger) and veal. Go to an upscale store, see that veal costs $12 a pound, don’t cry because “Momma didn’t raise no bitch” and decide to substitute it with pork. This dish is made in an earthenware pot and supposed to be cooked for several hours for the stew to absorb the earthy flavors. Thankfully I was able to borrow one from my Moroccan friend, an alternative would be to jump into your neighbor’s yard at night and steal their largest flower pot. Just make sure to wash it before using. The following recipe makes enough for 8 people, or 8 consecutive meals. Lets begin!


1 kg beef, cut into 1 inch cubes

500 grams veal, cut into 1 inch cubes (can substitute for pork)

30 okra

1/2 kg cabbage

2 zuccchini

1 medium onion

4 carrots

4 potatoes

200 grams green beans

3 tomatoes

1 tbsp salt

2 tsp pepper

2 tsp paprika

1 cup oil

3 cups water



Cut all the vegetables into medium sized chunks. Season the meat and vegetables evenly with the spices. Layer the chopped vegetables in a large earthenware pot, I used four small ones since I didn’t have a big one.


Now layer the meat and drizzle the oil and water on top. Try to be as even as possible with the oil but you do not have to be perfect.


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and bake the dish uncovered for 1 hours, the meat on top should have charred a bit. Now stir and bake it again for 1.5 hours. Take it out and let it cool down for a couple minutes. The vegetables will have released a lot of water so allow for it to reduce slightly if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with a side of bread. This dish is purely Macedonian and Macedonia is famous for its red wine, it was the major producer of wine for Yugoslavia before the break up. Pair this dish with a Vranac for an authentic combination.




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