Orman Kebabi (also known as Bolu Kebabi or Forest Kebab) is a traditional Turkish kebab dish originating from Bolu city. Same as Tas Kebabi, this delicious dish is a super easy one-pot stew made with slow-cooked beef (or lamb), and vegetables and is packed with Mediterranean flavors.
It is unknown why this kebab dish is called "Orman Kebabi" or what are the origins of this dish. However, we know that this is a very easy recipe loved and cooked by many households in Turkey. The most popular way to enjoy it is to serve it with a bowl of Turkish Rice (Sehriyeli Pilav) or Bulgur Pilavi (Turkish Bulgur Pilaf) along with some Cacik (Turkish Yoghurt with Cucumbers) or Orzo Pasta Salad.
Why This Recipe Works?
- You only need a few simple ingredients you might already have in your fridge.
- The leftovers would keep refrigerated for up to three days in an airtight container. You can freeze them and keep them for up to three months.
- It is a very easy recipe to follow with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
- Orman Kebabi is versatile, you can substitute the beef with lamb or chicken and it would still taste delicious!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Meat - I used beef for this recipe but both lamb and chicken can be used for this dish. The coking timing would be different depending on the cut and size of the meat but it would still taste delicious! As always, I recommend a well-marbled cut such as chuck or brisket as lean meat is not suitable for slow cooking.
- Olive oil - I use good quality olive oil to achieve the best flavor. You can substitute it with butter. Or skip it if your meat contains enough fat.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavoring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. Turn it into a paste with a Mortar and Pestle or grate it using a Microplane Zester Grater. I use two large or three small fresh garlic cloves for this recipe.
- Onions - I use button onions or small shallots for this kebab dish but you can use any onions you have in hand.
- Tomato paste - It is the staple of Turkish cooking. It adds an umami flavor to the dishes as well as a bright red color. 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 - Traditionally, this kebab dish is prepared with potatoes, onions, carrots, and garden peas. However, you can substitute them with your favorite vegetables you have available such as sugar snaps, green beans, swede, or sweet potatoes.
- Flour - I use plain/all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce. Substitute it with cornflour for a gluten-free option.
- Thyme - You can substitute it with oregano, rosemary, parsley, or basil.
Making this delicious one-pot dish Orman Kebabi - Forest Kebab is quite simple. However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps and tips:
Place a Dutch oven or a heavy-based pan on medium-low heat and add the meat along with the thyme. Gently cook the meat until it releases its water and then evaporates again, for about 30 to 35 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Add olive oil (if necessary) and sauté the onions with garlic for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the peppers and sauté for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste along with the pepper paste, flour, salt, and pepper. Give them a quick stir.
Pour the stock and deglaze the bottom of the pan to release the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots and then potatoes, and give them a good stir. Bring the Dutch oven to a boil and place it in preheated oven with the lid off.
Cook the dish for an hour and then add the peas to the pan. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the stock has thickened.
For more scrumptious & easy kebab dishes why not try:
The leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days if refrigerated or for up to three months if frozen.
Apart from the rice dishes, you can serve this kebab with some bread such as Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread), Turkish Pide Bread - Ramazan Pidesi or Homemade Pita Bread. Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Sauté Potatoes with Garlic are other side dishes that would perfectly pair with Orman Kebabi.
Yes, you can make this dish a couple of days ahead and reheat it gently when needed. It tastes even better a day after or two!
Top Tip From the Chef
You can cook this dish on the stovetop if you prefer. If cooking on a stovetop, give the dish a stir every 10 to 15 minutes to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious Turkish Kebab as much as you enjoy eating it!🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
- 800 g diced beef (around 2 cm - 1" cubes)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tablespoon dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 10 button onions or small shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 sweet red peppers (approx 150 grams)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 1 tablespoon plain white flour / all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups beef stock or chicken stock
- 1 large diced carrot (approx 150 grams)
- 1 large diced potato
- 150 g garden peas
- Place a Dutch oven or a heavy-based pan on medium-low heat and add the meat along with the thyme.
- Gently cook the meat until it releases its water and then evaporates again, for about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
- Add olive oil (if necessary) and sauté the onions with garlic for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the peppers and sauté for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste along with the pepper paste, flour, salt and pepper. Give them a quick stir.
- Pour the stock and deglaze the bottom of the pan to release the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the carrots and then potatoes, and give them a good stir.
- Bring the Dutch oven to a boil and place it in preheated oven with the lid off.
- Cook the dish for an hour and then add the peas to the pan.
- Let it cook without covering the lid for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the stock has thickened.
- 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 points to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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