Kuzu Guvec is a Turkish Lamb Casserole dish made with lamb and vegetables slowly cooked in an earthenware pot. Same as Baked Prawns (Karides Guvec), this authentic dish has rich, earthy and smoky aromas, and is low in calories, nutritious and gluten-free.
Although lamb is traditionally used to make this delicious stew, you can also use chicken, beef or fish.
The Origins of Güveç
In Turkey, Güveç is also the name of the earthenware pot used for cooking casseroles and stews. These clay pots are dating back to before the Ottoman Empire, the era when the Turkic people were exploring different ways of preparing their dishes.
The usage of earthenware pots for this kind of stew was popular during the Ottomans as well. The dish and the pots were introduced in the Balkans during this time in the region and Güveç became a classic in the Balkan countries as well.
Why This Recipe Works?
- This simple lamb casserole dish is full of flavours and is done with a minimum of preparation.
- You can use any type of meat and vegetables to make this hearty guvec dish, or you can omit the meat and turn it into a delicious vegetarian dish.
- This gluten-free dish is also low in calories and high in nutrition.
- You can make this authentic dish a couple of days ahead. It tastes even better when reheated.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Lamb - Well-exercised muscles rich in collagen such as shank, shin or shoulder are the typical cuts of meat for the Güveç dish.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavouring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. Simply peel and add them whole to your dish.
- Onions - I use button onions or small shallots for the Guvec dish but you can use any onions you have in hand.
- Tomato paste - It is the staple of Turkish cooking. It adds an umami flavour to the dishes as well as a bright red colour. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it online from Amazon.
- Red pepper paste - Turkish red pepper paste is a rich, delicious paste made with juicy, spicy red peppers and I use it quite often in my Turkish recipes. You can buy it from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops or online from .
- Vegetables - This versatile casserole dish can be prepared with many different vegetables such as potatoes, button onions, carrots, eggplants (aubergines), zucchini (courgettes), green peas, okra, runner beans, peppers and tomatoes.
- Olive oil - Optional, only use it if you are using a lean cut of meat.
- Spices - I like keeping it simple but you can add your favourite spices and flavourings such as cumin, paprika or bay leaves. Adjust the amounts to your taste.
It is essential to cook guvec in a clay pot because of the earthy flavours these pots add to the dish. If you do not own a güveç dish or any other earthenware pot with a lid, you can use a Dutch oven.
This is a very simple recipe and to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Peel the button onions (or small shallots) and garlic, and leave them whole. Remove the stalks and seeds from the peppers and slice them roughly. Peel the aubergines in a zebra pattern and then cut them into two-centimetre cubes, similar in size to your lamb. Grate the tomatoes or finely blitz them.
Layer the Clay Pot or Dutch Oven
Place the lamb at the bottom of the dish and sprinkle on ⅓ of the seasoning and spices. Mix the vegetables and arrange them on top of the lamb, sprinkle on ⅓ of the spices and seasoning.
Combine the rest of the seasoning&spices, tomatoes, tomato & pepper paste, stock and olive oil (if using) in a bowl and pour it over the vegetables.
Cook the Lamb Guvec
Cover the dish with a lid. If it doesn't have a lid, cover it first with silicone paper and then tin foil. Place the dish in the oven and cook for an hour. Remove the lid and cook for another hour, until the meat is soft and tender. Do not stir the dish while cooking. Take the Güveç out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before serving. Check the seasoning and adjust it to your taste.
For more scrumptious Lamb Dishes why not try:
I usually serve Güveç with a bowl of healthy Bulgur Pilavi (Turkish Bulgur Pilaf), buttery Turkish Rice (Sehriyeli Pilav) or delicious Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils. You can also serve with some bread such as fluffy Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread), pillowy Turkish Pide Bread (Ramazan Pidesi) or soft Tawa Naan with Garlic to mop up the juices!
The leftovers will keep for up to five days when refrigerated in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up to three months if you want to keep them longer.
There is only 304 kcal in one portion of this delicious lamb casserole dish!
Top Tip From the Chef
When cooking in a Güveç pot, use very little or no stock/water in the dish as it tastes better when the ingredients cook in their own juices.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this scrumptious Lamb Guvec Dish as much as you enjoy eating it!🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Guvec (Turkish Lamb Casserole)
- 800 g diced shoulder of lamb (or any other marbled cut you like)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 10 button onions (or 2 large onions cut in chunks)
- 1 aubergine (eggplant)
- 2 Turkish green peppers (or 1 bell pepper or 1 red Romano pepper)
- 150 g green beans
- 200 g tomatoes (grated or blitzed)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional, use it if your meat is lean)
- 150 ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
Prepare Your Vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
- Peel the button onions (or small shallots) and garlic, and leave them whole.
- Remove the stalks and seeds from the peppers and slice them roughly.
- Peel the aubergines in a zebra pattern and cut them into two-centimetre cubes, similar in size to your lamb.
- Grate the tomatoes or finely blitz them.
Layer the Clay Pot or Dutch Oven
- Place the lamb at the bottom of the dish and sprinkle on ⅓ of the seasoning and spices.
- Mix the vegetables and arrange them on top of the lamb, sprinkle on ⅓ of the spices and seasoning.
- Combine the rest of the seasoning&spices, tomatoes, tomato & pepper paste, stock and olive oil (if using) in a bowl and pour it over the vegetables.
Cook the Lamb Guvec
- Cover the dish with a lid. If it doesn't have a lid, cover it first with silicone paper and then tin foil.
- Place the dish in the oven and cook for an hour.
- Remove the lid and cook for another hour, until the meat is soft and tender. Do not stir the dish while cooking.
- Take the Güveç out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before serving. Check the seasoning and adjust it to your taste.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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