Claypot chicken with dates, sucuk and bulgur

Claypot chicken with dates, sucuk and bulgur

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

In Turkish cookery there’s a distinctive group of dishes known as güveç, which take their name from the earthenware pot in which they are cooked – in the same way that the tagine does in Morocco. In rural Anatolia the cooking pots may be sealed and buried in the ashes of a fire to cook slowly overnight – or, only slightly less romantically, in the local baker’s oven. If you don’t have a clay pot, a heavy-based cast-iron casserole dish will serve almost as well.

Güveç dishes encompass all sorts of meat or poultry cooked with pulses, vegetables and fruits. My addition of star anise is not remotely Turkish, but it adds a wonderful layer of aniseed flavour. This güveç is spicy with a lingering sweetness, so serve it with a light salad or braised wild greens. A dollop of yoghurt would also be delicious.

Sucuk is a spicy Turkish sausauge and can be found in Turkish or Middle Eastern butchers and some specialist delis.


Quantity Ingredient
45g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 purple onions, cut into thick rings
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 long red peppers, seeded and cut into rings
2 long green peppers, seeded and cut into rings
2 long green chillies, seeded and diced
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous splash sherry
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
50g bulgur, washed
350ml * chicken stock [rid:9962]
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
few sprigs thyme
2 x 400g poussins
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g sucuk, sliced
4 medjool dates, seeded and cut into quarters


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Heat the butter and extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy-based casserole dish. Gently sweat the onions, garlic, peppers and chillies with the cumin and cinnamon for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Add the sherry, tomatoes, bulgur, chicken stock, cinnamon, star anise and thyme and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, then cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the poussins into quarters and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. In another heavy-based frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and brown the meat lightly all over. Add the sucuk and fry until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the poussins and sucuk to the casserole dish and tuck in the dates. Cover the pan and cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve straight away.
Middle Eastern
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