Day 6: Turkey (the country) and Turkish Kofta & Sweet Potatoes

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Straddling Europe and Asia, where East meets West, Turkey's melting pot of cultures is best reflected in its cuisine. If you're a newcomer to Turkish food, you've got a mouth-watering journey ahead of you.

It has been said that three major kinds of cuisine exist in the world; Turkish, Chinese, and French. Fully justifying its reputation, Turkish Cuisine is always a pleasant surprise for the visitor.

In addition to being the refined product of centuries of experience, Turkish Cuisine has a very pure quality. The variety and simplicity of the recipes and the quality of the ingredients are guarantees of delicious meals.

I had such a hard time deciding which of the 100's of turkish dishes would best represent Turkey and be it's official National Dish (oh and work for the Slow Cooker :) )

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For example Baklava. This desert dish dates back to the Ottoman Empire, baklava is one of the most iconic Turkish dishes and a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. This layered pastry is filled with nuts and covered in syrup and ground pistachios for an unforgettable dessert. Unfortunately does not work for our crockpot. Then there is Kebab or Doner but I do believe that I have chosen the right dish.

Köfte Turkish 'meatballs' that can come in all shapes and sizes, and can be eaten solo as street snacks, dipped in plain yoghurt, cooked with tomatoes and potatoes or served with rice and salad. Different regions of Turkey have christened their own distinctive varieties, including Izgara Köfte, served with grilled peppers, rice and bread, and Çiğ Köfte, eaten raw.

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Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. East Thrace, the part of Turkey in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (collectively called the Turkish Straits).

Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia, is the largest city in the country while Ankara is the capital. Turkey is bordered on its northwest by Greece and Bulgaria; north by the Black Sea; northeast by Georgia; east by Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran; southeast by Iraq and Syria; south by the Mediterranean Sea; and west by the Aegean Sea. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish while Kurds are the largest minority at anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the population.

Turkey has a very deep and rich history like it's food. Let's take a look at our Kofte and Sweet Potato recipe.

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Ingredients - 4 Servings

4 large (approx 2.5 lbs) potatoes or sweet potatoes 4 large (approx 3 lbs) tomatoes 8 ounces tomato paste Salt & Pepper to taste 2 lb ground beef 1 small onion, 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp parsley 1 tbsp coriander 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper] 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp mint 1/2 tsp paprika

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