Sultan’s delight – lamb ragoût with cheesy eggplant purée

Sultan’s delight – lamb ragoût with cheesy eggplant purée

By
From
Turquoise
Serves
4
Photographer
Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

Legend has it that this dish was served to the Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, on a visit to Istanbul in the 1860s. Keen to impress, the Sultan had many of his favourite dishes prepared for her, including this one. Apparently Eugénie enjoyed it so much that she dispatched her own French chef to the palace kitchens for the recipe. But the Sultan’s chef was clearly not in the mood to give away his secrets, and he sent the interloper away saying, ‘an imperial chef needs only his heart, his eyes and his nose’. He must have decided to share the recipe somewhere along the line, however, as this dish is now a favourite on restaurant menus around Turkey.

Traditionally the eggplant purée that accompanies this dish is made using a béchamel sauce, but as I’m not keen on gluggy flour-based sauces, I prefer to take a lighter approach. In Turkey they use the local Kas gruyère or kasar, a mature yellow cheese, but you could also use a cheddar style. As this dish is fairly rich, it really only needs a simple green salad to accompany it.

You’ll find the red pepper paste used here in Middle Eastern food stores.

Ingredients

Method

Tags:
Turquoise
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Turkish
Turkey
Mediterranean
European
Middle Eastern
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