Albanian cooking: Kimë me veze

There are certain dishes whose aroma, sight and even name can make us remember the loveliest of times. Food, more than anything, is a great way to make connections and ever lasting memories with the people around us. For example, I have a special spot in my heart for Torta della nonna, a traditional Tuscan dessert made with buttery pastry, fragrant ricotta custard, berries and dusts of powdered sugar. Every shop and restaurant in Italy has their own version of it, but my favorite version and the root of my fond memories is from Capri. My old roommates and I spent an entire day trekking up the island a few years ago, and found a small restaurant overlooking the sea where we enjoyed a 3 hour lunch (typical). We ended our meal with an unforgettable slice of Torta della nonna.  Forever I will associate this wonderful dessert with that pure moment of complete happiness in Italy. Below are some pictures of Capri and our fancy hotel…

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Alas, this post is actually not about Torta della nonna (fooled you!) though now I really want to make one. Instead it’s about a dish that evokes a very similar feeling for me. A traditional Albanian dish called Kime me Veze. This dish always reminds me of summers in Albania. We’d spend all day at the beach, then come home for a late lunch where my mom and aunts would have a delectable feast already set on the table.  This particular dish was and remains one of my favorites. It’s a rather simple meal and if you’ve never tried to prepare an Albanian dish before this is a great introduction.

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What  you’ll need

  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium onions (minced)
  • 1 carrot (minced using a blender)
  • 3 fresh tomatoes (pureed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 4-6 oz water

What to do

In a large pan, saute the minced onion and carrot with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. The carrots help make this dish sweeter so if you’d like to have it an extra sweet taste, you can add more carrots. On the same note if you don’t like the sweetness of the carrot, then you can fully omit them from the dish.

Once the vegetables are sauteed, add and brown the meat. Add the tomato sauce (Tomatoes should have pureed in a blender. Make sure you don’t  liquefy these though, you want some chunky pieces. If you prefer to not use fresh tomatoes, you can also use chopped Tomatoes, these are especially good.) Add 4 ounces of water, salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and let the sauce cook until a small amount of liquid remains.
Break 3-4 eggs ( one egg a person so the amount of eggs depends on how many people you’re trying to feed) on top of the meat mixture. Bake the dish, without the cover in 350 degrees until the egg is fully cooked. I like my egg to be a bit runny, but this part is really up to you.
Let the dish cool for a few minutes, the cut and serve.
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Enjoy!
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