One of my favorite Turkish comfort foods - Kiymali Ispanak (Spinach with ground beef)

Kiymali Ispanak is one of my favorite Turkish comfort foods.  I made it often after my weekly trip to the pazar (bazaar) because I would want to use my fresh spinach right away.  It warms my belly and my heart each time I make it.  Memories of the rows and rows of fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses and olives come back to me like they were just yesterday.  I can't believe it has been fifteen years since I have been back to Turkey.  Washing the spinach really takes me back to Yesilkoy Pazar in Istanbul.  If I remember correctly, it was held on Wednesdays and I could spend hours walking and shopping.  My daughter was just a little girl and we would walk to the pazar from our house.  She had an umbrella type stroller with handles which would almost be touching the ground after I loaded them down with my many kilos of fruits and veggies.  She would be reclined all the way home, luckily, she would usually be asleep by then and never notice the difference.  Here is my version of a classic Turkish favorite - Kiymali Ispanak.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Afiyet olsun! 

Kiymali Ispanak ve Sarimsakli Yogurt - Spinach and ground beef with Garlic Yogurt


Cooking Directions

  1. Saute the chopped onion in the olive oil.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook till no longer pink.
  3. Add the tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of salt, glass of water (you can add more if it is too thick), the spinach.
  4. Lower heat to medium and cover.
  5. Once the spinach has wilted down ( a couple of minutes) add the rice and cook 20 minutes.
  6. Taste the broth and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. In the mean time, smash 2-3 heads of garlic and a dash of salt in your handy, dandy brass mortar and pestle from Turkey.
  8. Add to the yogurt and stir well.
  9. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  10. When the Kiymali Ispanak is cooked, serve piping hot, topped with garlic yogurt and a nice crusty bread for dipping all the delicious juices. Afiyet olsun!

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