After seeing Anthony Bourdain in Istanbul on No Reservations, there was no doubt that my T recipe would be from Turkey. I literally wanted to try everything Anthony ate and I was so excited that, despite Turkey being the gateway from Europe to the Middle East, there seemed to be very little that I wouldn’t be able to eat due to allergies.
I searched and searched for a recipe to make and was overwhelmed (especially when I found this blog) by all the amazing choices. Being a lover of eggplant, lamb and also all things cheesy and smokey; I settled on Hünkar Beğendi, aka Sultan’s Delight. I should say I settled on Sultan’s Delight for now since I know that when I have more time I’m going to go back and cook many of those other Turkish dishes that intrigued me.
Sultan’s Delight is a lamb stew served over a cheesy, smokey eggplant mash. There is absolutely nothing with that sentence, right?
For Lamb Stew
- 1.5 lbs lamb stew meat cut in to one inch pieces
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion; diced
- 2 red bell peppers; diced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes; drained
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 cups hot water
For eggplant mash
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cream*
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Large pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup kasseri cheese (or kashkaval or provolone)
*I had cream that I was trying to use up, but I don’t think the cream is necessary, you can just use 1 1/4 cups whole milk.
In a large dutch oven heat oil over medium high heat. Season the lamb meat then brown on all sides then remove to a bowl and set aside.
Toss in onions and peppers and cook until they begin to soften about 3-5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and add the spices and lamb meat back to the pot.
Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for one hour.
Meanwhile char the eggplant. To do this, first cover the area around the flame of your burner with foil (see picture) because the eggplant will give off water. Preheat the over to 325. Next prick the eggplant all over with a fork. Lay the eggplant directly on to the burner turning periodically until all skin is blackened. Then wrap the eggplant in tinfoil and bake for 20-25 minutes until very soft.
Allow the eggplant to cool, then peel off the skin and mash the flesh in a bowl. Set aside.
In a medium pan melt butter. Whisk in flour. Continue stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cream making sure to get rid of any lumps.
Add the eggplant and stir to incorporate then add the lemon juice and spices.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese and nutmeg.
FINAL VERDICT: A
Well the smokey cheesy eggplant mash on its own would’ve gotten an A+ and the stew would’ve received an A-, so that averaged out to an A.
This was definitely comfort food and perfect for the bitterly cold week we had here in New York last week. I would definitely make this dish again and just up the spices (maybe add in some cinnamon and cumin too). I wouldn’t change a thing about the eggplant mash. If you’re a vegetarian you should still make the eggplant mash… trust me, I’m actually dreaming about that eggplant mash right now…