A great historical recipe for Turkish cuisine, history has retained that Sultan Abdulaziz making a visit to France in 1867 in turn invited Napoleon III to his palace in Istanbul. Empress Eugenie will join Istanbul with her cook. The French cook once prepared a 'Bechamel' sauce, this new sauce caught the attention of a Turkish cook who was preparing a salad with braised eggplant, he added bechamel sauce to his braised eggplant, added lamb meat to it and offered it to the Sultan who liked this dish very much. Since that day, this dish has been called Hünkar Begendi - "the dish that the Sultan liked".
Eggplant is a staple ingredient in Turkish cuisine, there are at least a hundred eggplant dishes in Turkish cuisine. The recipe for ‘Hünkar Begendi’ presents one of the flavors of Turkish cuisine with the delicious harmony between eggplant and lamb meat.
For this dish of a thousand and one nights, you will need for 5 people:
- 600 g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into cubes,
- 3 beautiful eggplants,
- 2 beautiful peeled, seeded and crushed tomatoes,
- 2 lemons,
- 150 g minced onions,
- 150 g of butter,
- 100 g grated cheese (cantal type),
- 2 tablespoons of flour,
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree,
- 20 cl of milk,
- Salt pepper.
- Brown the sliced onions in 100 g of butter,
- Add the meat cubes and brown for a few minutes,
- Add the peeled tomatoes, the tomato puree and a large glass of water,
- Salt, pepper, cover and cook for 45 minutes over very low heat,
- Burn the aubergines under the oven grill until the skin darkens,
- Peel and soak the flesh in water with the juice of the two lemons,
- Make a béchamel with flour, 50 g of butter and milk,
- Add the grated cheese and the drained and finely chopped eggplant,
- Warm up,
- Arrange the eggplant sauce in a dish,
- Present the cubes of meat coated with their cooking sauce in the center.
If you can accompany this dish with a red wine from Turkey, a Tugra 'Öküzgözü from Domaine Doluca (apparently around 15 €), or just to set fire to the Mediterranean, a red wine from Greece a Cava from Domaine Mercouri (which you could find around 30 €)
Good tasting of this wonderful dish of Turkish cuisine, and hosçakalın as we say on the banks of the Bosphorus.