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Lamb and Game

Turkish Specialty: Hünkar Beğendi

A recipe with a history: "Hünkar Beğendi" means ' the Sultan enjoyed it'. We went to Istanbul to learn how to make this Turkish specialty with eggplant and meat.

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Turkish Specialty: Hünkar Beğendi

Recipe for "Hünkar Begendi"
(Serves four)

Ingredients:
500g lamb
5 tbsp butter
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of tomato puree
6  medium-sized eggplants
1 glass milk or cream
1 cup flour
1 cup olive oil
A pinch of salt
A pinch of black pepper
1 fresh nutmeg
1-2 chilli pods
3 cups water
1 cup of grated Kaşar cheese (or Gouda or Parmesan)
1 green pepper
2  tomatoes

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the diced meat. Fry for a short while on a high heat. Then add the onions and garlic and fry everything briefly. After 4-5 minutes add the tomato puree; season with salt and pepper. Finally, add 3 cups of water and allow to simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Add fresh chilli to taste, if desired.  
Wash and dry the eggplant, make small cuts into the skin and then place on a baking tray and cook on the top shelf of the oven on a high heat, turning it repeatedly until it is softened on all sides. The eggplants can also be cooked on a grill. Cook until the skin of the eggplants turns black. The important thing is that they are cooked right through to the center. They are only ready once they are really soft all over so they could be easily mashed down with a spoon. Allow to cool and then remove the skin (even if it is not burned - otherwise the eggplant will taste bitter). Chop or mash the eggplant. Meanwhile melt the butter in another saucepan, then add the flour. Stir until the flour is completely mixed in. Add a glass of milk or cream and stir until smooth. Then add the eggplant and stir everything together well. Season with salt and allow to simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Finally add the cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
When serving, first arrange the eggplant puree in a bowl and then add the meat with a little sauce. Garnish with grilled tomatoes and a green pepper. Afiyet olsun! Enjoy!

Hünkar Begendi, Sultan, eggplant puree, recipe, Istanbul

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