Lamb stew with aubergine purée

Lamb stew with aubergine purée

Hünkar beğendi

Eat Istanbul
David Loftus

This is another classic recipe beloved by all Turks. Its name translates as ‘Sultan’s delight’, a reference to the seventeenth-century Sultan Murad IV whose chefs cooked it for him on a regular basis.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1kg leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 3-cm cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
6 plum tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
or 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons concentrated tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Aubergine purée

Quantity Ingredient
2 large aubergines
1/2 lemon, juiced
200ml milk
50g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
60g turkish-style kasar peyniri hard cheese, greek kasseri, or cheddar, grated

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
grilled tomatoes
grilled long green peppers
fresh thyme sprigs


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the lamb, in batches if necessary, for 5–7 minutes until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano, mint, allspice, bay leaves and parsley and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the lamb back to the pan and add enough water to just cover the meat. Stir well, cover with a lid and simmer for 1½–2 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  3. Prick the aubergines all over with a skewer. Using tongs, carefully hold them over a gas flame or charcoal grill, turning occasionally, until they feel tender and the skin has blackened – about 20 minutes. Leave them to cool, then place them on a chopping board and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin and stems. Put the flesh in a bowl with the lemon juice and set it aside for 15 minutes. Now transfer the aubergine pulp to a sieve and allow it to drain, using a wooden spoon to squeeze any excess liquid out. Discard the seeds, then roughly chop the flesh, transfer it to a bowl and cover with clingfilm.
  4. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat.
  5. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat, add the flour and stir it with a wooden spoon for about 2–3 minutes. Lower the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking continuously to combine the mixture well. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the aubergines and cheese, stirring constantly, and cook for about 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Keep it warm until ready to serve, or heat over low heat just before serving. To serve, place the aubergine purée on 4 serving plates, top with the lamb stew and add grilled tomatoes, long green peppers and thyme sprigs.
Turkish food
Middle Eastern
Andy Harris
David Loftus
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