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Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh

by Spicie Foodie on February 5, 2014

Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #Albanianfood #leeks #casserole

Welcome to another instalment of the Earth Eats series. In cased you missed the first one make sure to check out the aromatic beef pilaf recipe from Afghanistan. Today we are traveling to the European country of Albania for a super delicious casserole dish you’re going to love.

Earth Eats: A Culinary Tour of Our Planet by @SpicieFoodie | #worldcuisine #recipes

Albania is a Southeastern European country located east of Italy, just north of Greece, tucked beneath the former Yugoslav Republic states and overlooking the azure waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Due to it’s location, Albanian cuisine is highly influenced by Italian, Greek and Turkish cookery. Vegetables play a big role in Albanian cuisine and are always present, in one form or another. Meats like lamb, beef, chicken, pork and rabbit are used throughout the country, and in coastal cities seafood plays a bigger roll.

Every region of this Southeastern European country has a special dish characteristic to the area, but Albanian’s national dish is, considered by many to be tave kosi. The dish is made with lamb, yogurt, rice and baked with a mixture of eggs and yogurt. Though it sounded good I skipped it for a dairy free and slightly lighter dish with plenty of vegetables. The dish I choose is called tave me presh.

Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #Albanianfood #leeks #casseroleEarth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #Albanianfood #leeks #casseroleTave me presh is a minced lamb and leek casserole that is slowly baked then served over mashed potatoes. Those experiencing a brutal winter will really love the this warming dish, but it’s also perfect for nights when you want to throw dinner in the oven and forget about if for a while. Though minced lamb is the meat of choice in tave me presh, I decided to make a minced beef version because many don’t have access to the lamb mince. It is a very simple dish that anyone, anywhere can prepare — another great reason for choosing it. As a matter of fact I’m sure you already have the ingredients in your kitchen. Okay, let’s get cooking.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh
 
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Tave me presh is a simply delicious dish of baked leeks and minced lamb. This beef version is created for those who don’t have access to lamb.
Author:
Recipe type: casserole, one pot, stew
Cuisine: Albanian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium leeks, cut into 2.5 cm or 1 inch pieces but if using thick leeks cut into smaller even sized pieces
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500 gm or 1 lb. minced beef or lamb
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce/puree
  • 3 small red peppers weighing a total of 300gm/10.5 oz, seeded and evenly chopped (you can also use red bell peppers)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 300 ml or 1.25 cups beef stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • half a tsp of fine salt, adjust to taste
  • large pinch of ground black pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour to thicken sauce
  • mash potatoes to serve (I make mine from scratch)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 190c or 374f, prepare a baking or casserole dish. Heat the oil and once warm fry the leeks until soft then put them in baking/casserole dish. In the same pan and oil, or add more oil if needed, cook onion until soft and translucent. Next add meat and cook until cooked through, drain all the liquid and fat, then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Next add peppers, puree, salt, pepper, and broth and mix until well combined. Over medium low heat, bring to gentle boil then add flour to thicken up a bit. Taste and adjust salt and/or pepper if desired. Lastly, pour the pan ingredients over the leeks in casserole dish, place in the centre of the oven (uncovered) and bake for 1 hour. Nearly all of the liquid will have evaporated and the peppers will be very soft. Serve over mashed potatoes. (You might want to start the mashed potatoes one half hour into the cooking time of the casserole.)
Notes
MAKE IT VEGETARIAN: To make this dish vegetarian omit the minced beef and substitute it with mushrooms or eggplant or a variety of your favourite vegetables.



MAKE IT PRETTY: The dish is not an attractive one right out of the oven. Make it look pretty by serving it over the mashed potatoes and by using chopsticks to pull up some bits of leeks and peppers. Just use my photos as inspiration.:)

 

Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #Albanianfood #leeks #casserole

As you can see from the ingredients list the dish is very simply spiced. But you know what? The flavours of the leeks, pepper and beef really stand out and make the dish quite flavourful. The smell as it bakes is just incredible! I know the photo showing the cooked casserole doesn’t look very appetising, but if you serve it like I have in my photos it will really help with first impression. Once your family tastes the dish looks won’t matter much. My husband and I both really liked it and I would definitely make it again.

Earth Eats: Albanian Baked Leeks or Tave me presh Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #Albanianfood #leeks #casserole

I tried to find some Albanian cookbooks on Amazon but unfortunately only found one. Here it is in case you’re interested in cooking more dishes from Albania.

Well, there you have it, another edition of Earth Eats. Thanks for stopping and I hope you give this Albanian casserole a taste.

 
 

Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide to Better Photos, Photography eBook by Spicie Foodie

 
 

in Beef,Earth Eats Series

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa February 5, 2014 at 7:48 AM

That looks really good! Leeks are so delicious and versatile. It is one of my fave vegetables.

Cheers,

Rosa

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2 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Thank you Rosa!

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3 Victoria of Flavors of the Sun February 5, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Fun post ( know little about Albanian cooking) with great recipe. This wold appeal greatly to my Macedonian husband, even though he is vegetarian–he sometimes will pull out the stops for a bit of lamb!

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4 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM

I can’t wait to try Macedonian food. Lamb is my favourite meat so I was disappointed I couldn’t use it in this recipe. Thank you Victoria!

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5 claudia lamascolo February 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM

that looks so good I can eat the picture!

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6 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Thanks Claudia!

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7 Daniela February 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

This culinary trip around the world is a great idea.
I know so little about Albanian cuisine but this casserole looks very interesting.
Have to give it a try.

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8 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Thank you Daniela. I too know little but it sounds like a delicious cuisine. I hope you do give this a try.:)

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9 Nora February 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It is greet,the tradicional foods albanian, no only tave me presh or tave kosi.:-)

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10 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM

The few dishes I read about all sound wonderful. I’m looking forward to trying more.

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11 Chrissy February 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Looks delicious and thanks for the resource!

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12 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Thanks Chrissy!

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13 Evelyne@cheapethniceatz February 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Just gorgeous and I do so love the flavors of the dishes in that part of the world. Just did one myself. Wish it was my dinner tonight…will be soon.

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14 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 5:01 PM

I need to go check out your recipe from this area of the world — the food is all great there. Enjoy and thanks, Evelyne!

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15 Medeja February 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

This dish is so interesting! I have never heard about bakes leek :)

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16 Spicie Foodie February 5, 2014 at 9:54 PM

I hadn’t either before this dish, it’s quite tasty. Give it a try sometime.

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17 Ariola February 6, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Thanks for the recipe! I’m an Albanian but I’ve never cooked leeks with minced meat so far. I’m trying it right now with a small twist- added some white wine and bay leaves in the meat.

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18 Spicie Foodie February 6, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Hi Ariola! That’s great, love your twist too.

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19 Ramona February 6, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I love this kind of dish… it does look very flavorful. I am really enjoying this series too. :)

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20 Spicie Foodie February 7, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Thank you Ramona, glad to hear it!:)

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21 mjskit February 6, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Went I hit your page, I was thinking “What a beautiful dish?”; therefore, I was surprised when you said it wasn’t very pretty. I see what you did. Nice hint!!! thanks! The only thing I’m missing here are the leeks, but I know where I can get some. I do have a pound of minced lamb in the freezer so this sounds like a great meal for this weekend! Thanks for sharing. Fabulous dish!

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22 Spicie Foodie February 7, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Hi MJ! Hehe, you caught that:) Now I’m jealous that you have minced lamb, so enjoy an extra helping for me. Have a great weekend!

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23 Grigori February 6, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Looks like a great dish!! I’m Albanian and I use the Albanian Cookbook by the Women’s Guild of St. Mary’s Albanian Orthodox Church in Worcester, MA Tons of Tave dishes. Also, one personal leek favorite is Albanian Leek Pie! You can find the book at: http://www.albaniancookbook.com
Also, you need to update your map as you are missing one of the worlds newest nations where 3 million ethnic Albanians live: Kosovo.

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24 Spicie Foodie February 7, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Hi Griogori! Thank you for the cookbook tip, I’ll be checking it out. You’d be surprised how many maps I’ve found had the error, I didn’t notice it until you pointed it — thanks and all fixed!

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25 Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 10, 2014 at 12:53 AM

I’ve never tried Albanian food, but this looks delicious and so comforting!

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26 Grigori February 14, 2014 at 9:06 PM

I cooked a variation tonight and it was great. My wife & I both loved it. I used ground lamb and only tomato puree instead of the beef broth & flour. I also added some mushrooms. Great thing about an Albanian Tave is you can basically add any veggies to it that you like!

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