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Turkish Cuisine


Hunkar Begendi
Lamb with smoked eggplant puree

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

For the Lamb Stew

1 lb neck fillet of lamb, diced in cubes
1 medium onion, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
Salt, black pepper, pinch of sugar, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika

For the Eggplant Sauce

2-3 large eggplants
1 lemon juice (to whiten the eggplant flesh color)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons corn flour or regular flour
1 cup (300 ml) milk
1 cup (100gr) grated Turkish aged Kasar / Gruyere or aged Cheddar

In order to cook the eggplants, first prick them with a fork to prevent them from bursting in the oven. Then roast the whole eggplants in the oven (preheated 450 F) for 40-50 minutes, turning regularly, until they are evenly charred and soft. Place the cooked eggplants in a plastic bag and tie them to sweat and cool to make the peeling a lot easier. When cool enough to handle, peel away the blackened skin and discard, placing the warm flesh in the bowl of cold lemon water. Leave to soak for about 20 minutes. Squeeze the eggplants and press out as much of the water and juices as possible. Mash the eggplant flesh into a puree with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan and add the chopped onions. Fry the onion until golden. Then add the lamb cubes, salt and pepper. Cook the meat until it browns evenly, and then add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, and sugar. Cover with water, close the lid and reduce the heat to simmer until meat is tender (approx. 1 hr). Add water when necessary but let the sauce thicken at the end. Sprinkle with parsley and keep warm.

To complete the eggplant puree, make a béchamel sauce; melt the butter in a medium heavy-based saucepan, add the flour, and stir well over low heat until it is well blended. Off the heat, slowly pour in the milk, stirring well, to make a smooth creamy sauce. Add salt, return to heat and cook until the sauce thickens. Add the mashed eggplants, grated cheese and stir well to combine. Serve in the traditional Turkish way; put the puree in a shallow platter and the meat on top of the puree for each serving.


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