Winter Warmer: Spicy Bulgarian Tomato Casserole

This recipe is traditionally eaten during the hottest days of the year in Southern Bulgaria. However, I like to use plenty of paprika so it makes a great hearty, warming side dish for those cold winter days.  Serve with a sprinkling of parsley as garnish and a dollop of sour cream.

Ingredients

40ml olive oil

Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley

1kg of firm ripe tomatoes

1 tsp caster sugar

45g white breadcrumbs

1 tbsp paprika

Seasoning

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Grease a baking dish with 1 tbsp of oil

Sprinkle the dish with a generous helping of chopped parsley

Slice the tomatoes and arrange in the dish so they overlap

Thracian tomato bake

Sprinkle the tomatoes with seasoning and sugar

Mix breadcrumbs together with remaining oil and paprika

Sprinkle breadcrumb mix over top of tomatoes

Thracian tomato bake

Cover dish with foil

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking

Thracian tomato bake

Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley and serve with a dollop of sour cream

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Bulgarian Potted Chicken

This recipe is a traditional Bulgarian casserole, cooked on top of the stove in a flameproof pot.  The chicken is cooked very slowly on a low heat until it is tender and just before it is falling off the bone.  Despite the fact the sauce only uses a small amount of stock and tomatoes, I ended up with rather a lot of sauce.  I would recommend serving with bread for the sauce or alternatively, rice.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

8 chicken portions on the bone, I prefer thighs but drumsticks would also be suitable

6-8 firm, ripe tomatoes chopped

2 garlic cloves

3 white onions

250ml chicken stock

2 bay leaves

2 tsp paprika

10 white peppercorns slight crushed/bruised

(It can be difficult to track down white peppercorns, even Waitrose did not stock them! However, it was worth the extra effort.

I do not own a pestle and mortar as my kitchen is so small, so I put them on a freezer bag and bruised using a bottle)

Handful of parsley finely chopped

Instructions

Chop the tomatoes and crush the garlic, then place both in flameproof dish

Place chicken on top of tomatoes

chicken-1

Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 15 minutes

Add the diced onion, bay leaves, paprika, peppercorns and stock

chicken-2

Cover tightly and cook on  very low heat, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks or burns, for 2 hours or until the chicken is tender

chicken-3

Depending on how fatty the chicken is, the fat on the top may need to be skimmed

Five minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the finely chopped parsley

Bulgarian Potted Chicken

Serve!

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