Hünkar Begendi

…which translated means sultans delight, which is basically a stew on a rich aubergine puree. Traditionally this is made with lamb but i tried it here with beef and it wasn’t a bad substitution at all. This is a dish with a long history and many stories tell the tale of its creation. In the end, all stories have a common happy ending… the sultan liked it, hence the name. Given the intertwined history of Greece and Turkey, the dish has flavors that are very common in this part of the Mediterranean. The roasted aubergine technique used here, is basically used for many recipes like eggplant salad which anyone having visited a Greek island will have tried. The simple tomato beef stew by itself is very common here also, and often enjoyed with either pasta, rice or my favorite… grandma’s extra crunchy fried potatoes and feta cheese.

– mel

aubergine puree with beef stewIngredients:
Stew:
– 1.5 kg stewing beef cut in 2 inch cubes
– 2 onions chopped
– 100ml white wine
– 1 cup fresh tomatoes blitzed in a processor
– 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
– 1 tbs tomato paste
– 3 bay leafs
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 4 allspice berries
– 200 ml vegetable stock
– 4 tbs frying oil
– 4 tbs olive oil
– salt and pepper

Aubergine puree:
– 3 aubergines
– 3 tbs flour
– 4 tbs butter
– 1 cup milk
– 1/4 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg
– 1tbs lemon juice
– half cup grated kaseri cheese (parmesan is a good substitute)
– chopped parsley for decoration

Directions:
Stew:
1. Brown the meat evenly in the 4 tbs of frying oil for about 3 min per side. Remove meat, discard oil and deglaze the pot with the wine. Pour over the reserved meat.
2. Add the olive oil and on medium heat sauté the onions for about 10 minutes.
3. Add all other ingredients plus the reserved meat and stir slightly over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer covered for at least 2 hours until meat is tender. Time depends on the cut of meat used.

Puree:
1. Place the aubergines whole on a baking dish under the grill for about 15 minutes per side. The skin has to literally be burnt so the puree has that smokey aroma.
2. Remove the burnt layer and scrape the flesh clean of the skin and place in a bowl. Mush it up with two forks and reserve.
3. Make the bechamel with the rest of the ingredients and when ready add the aubergine flesh and cheese and mix.
4. Place a nice layer of puree on a serving plate, top with the stew and some sauce and sprinkle some parsley.
Enjoy and imagine that a sultan was doing so a few hundred years ago.

…for more recipes from us, check out our archives.

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