Lamb Stew with Velvety Eggplant Puree
As the name suggests, Hünkârbeğendi (Sultan’s Delight) is a dish worthy of sultans. This is a popular dish served to entertain guests in the best possible way. In Turkish cuisine, it is a popular practice to roast eggplants and purée the flesh. However, preparing a roux similar to the technique used for béchamel sauce, and flavoring it with plenty of cheese indicates traces of Westernization.
For the Lamb Stew (Tas Kebab)
- 100 g butter or clarified butter
- 750 g lamb, trimmed and cubed
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 l water
- 2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
For the beğendi (eggplant puree)
- 1.5 kg seedless, long eggplants
- 50 g butter or clarified butter
- 50 g all-purpose flour
- 750 ml milk
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 90 g mature cheddar cheese (kaşar), grated
- Pinch of grated nutmeg to flavor
- Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the meat and sauté for 8-10 minutes until juices are released and absorbed.
- Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Then add the black peppercorns, salt and water.
- Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes and add the tomatoes. Simmer until the meat is tender.
- To prepare the beğendi or eggplant puree, trim the leaves around the stems of the eggplants, then lightly Pierce the eggplants in a few places using the tip of a knife. Place the eggplants over hot coal, on the chargrill or on a hot stovetop burner and rotate until they are completely soft. Transfer these onto a plate.
- Hold the eggplant by the stem and peel off the skin from top to bottom without removing the flesh. Cut off the stems and carefully remove any remaining burnt sections. Chop up the flesh with a knife.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Sauté for 2 minutes over a medium heat constantly stirring with a whisk, then remove from the heat. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes, then add boiling milk. Whisk continuously over low heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the skinned, chopped eggplant.
- Mash while whisking, add the salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cheese, remove from the heat and keep hot. Place the slow-cooked meat and the juices on top of the eggplant puree and serve.