Cauliflower Stew-Turkey

There are a lot of foods I equate with Turkish cuisine, cauliflower is not one of them. However, perusing the pages of Ayla Algar’s cookbook, Classical Turkish Cooking clearly showed where my culinary ignorance levels were at. Its name in Turkish is Karnibahar Musakka and if you can pronounce that, I am most impressed.

I recently borrowed this cookbook from my library and had grand illusions for making a Turkish feast on Friday night but fatigue paired with typical Friday laziness saw that only one thing was made, cauliflower stew. Although in my defense I was planning on making the recipe for a yogurt and pistachio cake that was also from the cookbook but my local, LARGE supermarket had no pistachios save for ones that were in mixed nut collection. I was most disappointed.

But back to the cauliflower stew-I know I probably say this a lot but it truly was beyond simple to make. You blanch the raw cauliflower, cook some onions, add the cauliflower and remaining ingredients and voila. And lest anyone think that cauliflower stew doesn’t necessarily sound the greatest, ground lamb or sirloin is also in it making it a hearty dish.

Cauliflower Stew-Karnibahar Musakka

recipe courtesy of Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar


1 cauliflower (2 lbs)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onions

1/3 lb ground lamb or beef sirloin

3 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs marjoram

1 1/2 cups meat stock or water

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Flat-leaf parsley


Remove the stalks and leaves from the cauliflower. Blanch it in boiling salted water just a few minutes. Refresh with cold water and set aside. 


Heat the butter in a heavy pan and cook the onions until they begin to brown around the edges. Add the meat and cook, stirring until it browns. Divide the cauliflower into florets and stir into the pan. Add herbs, meat stock or water, salt and pepper; cover and cook gently for 30-40 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Five minutes before the cooking is finished, stir in a handful of parsley. During cooking check for liquid and add some if necessary. Adjust seasoning, take out the herb sprigs, and serve hot. 

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  • Reply
    September 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Just had some. Was cooked in safflower oil and with organic ground Turkey. Yummy…

    • Reply
      September 18, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Ahmet, it’s a wonderful and simple dish. Glad you enjoyed it!

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