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Albanian Leek Casserole:
Tavë me presh

What's the big idea?

A popular, traditional Albanian recipe. Don't be confused by the name - this is far from a vegetarian dish, as it contains a fair amount of minced lamb. It would be fairer to call it "mince and leek casserole", but my understanding is that it's the leeks that get top billing in Albania! If you can't get hold of lamb mince easily, there's no reason why you couldn't subsitute beef mince.

Serve with mountains of mashed potato for a warming winter meal.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned and cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1lb minced lamb (or beef)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 3 small red peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 300ml beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Large pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour or cornflour (to thicken the sauce)

What To Do

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the leeks until soft. Place in a large casserole dish
  • In the same pan and oil, fry the onion until soft
  • Add the meat and cook until browned. Drain off all the liquid and fat, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
  • Next add the peppers, tomato purée, salt, pepper, and stock
  • Over a medium-low heat, bring to a gentle boil and then add the flour to thicken it
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary
  • Add the contents of the frying pan to the casserole dish, place in the centre of the oven (uncovered) and bake for 1 hour
  • Serve over mashed potatoes

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