Smokey, Rich, & Healthy...
In Turkish this recipe is called Sultan's Delight, and for a good reason: it can please even the pickiest of eaters. Stewed beef, or more traditionally stewed lamb, is served over creamy eggplant béchamel alongside fire-roasted green peppers and tomatoes au jus. It is not your average throw-together meal, but the extra work is well worth it as it is probably unlike any dish you have ever tasted.
This recipe is an adapted version from the book Sultan’s Kitchen. It has three components to it, as listed below.
2 lbs lamb shoulder or beef chuck, cut into 2 inch pieces OR russet potatoes, 1" cubed for vegan
1 tbsp clarified butter (or preferred oil for vegan)
2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups beef stock or water
2 tsp tomato paste
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp red pepper (optional)
½ tsp salt OR 1 tbsp soy sauce for vegan option
¼ tsp black pepper (optional)
Vegan option: 10 oz mushrooms, sliced and sauteed over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Add to stew when potatoes are still al dente.
4 cubanelle peppers, or 1-2 green bell peppers, whole
4 roma tomatoes, whole (or preferred variety for roasting)
2 American eggplants or 4 Italian eggplants
2 lemons, juiced
water, as needed
¾ cup coconut cream (or regular cream)
2-4 Tbsp clarified butter (or coconut oil)
2 tsp glutinous rice flour (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp water
½ - 1 tsp salt, or to taste
1. Slice the vegetables and set aside. Slice the meat into 1 x 2 inch pieces (or potatoes). Place a large sauté pan over a medium high burner and add 2 tsp oil (clarified butter, grape seed or canola). Brown the meat (or potatoes) in batches on both sides with at least 1 inch space between the pieces. The oil should sizzle when the meat contacts the pan. Set the meat aside and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Place all meat back in the pan with the onions and add stock or water to deglaze the pan. Then add the rest of the stew ingredients. Simmer over low heat until meat is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
Vegan note: If using potatoes, the cook time will be less than 1/2 hour.
2. Place oven rack on top of second most top position in the oven, a couple inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to a high broil. Lay the vegetables on a large baking sheet with at least 2 inches between them. Roast until vegetables are soft and have blackened spots. The eggplant should be very soft when done (it should feel squishy when pierced with a fork). The tomatoes and peppers will finish cooking before the eggplant and will need to be removed from the baking sheet to cool.
3. Place the tomatoes and Italian peppers aside. If using bell peppers place in a Ziploc bag (or heatproof container with a lid) for about 7 minutes (or longer) while cooling. This makes the skin easier to remove later. Once cool enough to handle, peel the eggplant trying to just remove the dark skin. Once the skin is removed, place the eggplant in lemon water mixture. To make the lemon water, fill a large nonreactive bowl with enough water to submerge the eggplant and squeeze two lemons into the water. Allow eggplant to sit in mixture for about 20 minutes. Peel the bell pepper if using and set aside.
4. Rinse the eggplant and mash it with a fork. Set it aside while you melt 2 tbsp butter over medium low heat in a medium sized pan. Add the mashed eggplant and cream (or coconut cream). Lastly, mix the flour (or cornstarch) with about 1 tbsp of cool water and pour into mixture while whisking. Turn the heat up to medium and stir until the sauce simmers and thickens. Salt to taste.
5. Place ½ cup of eggplant puree on a plate. Ladle beef on top with some of the stew juice. Place roasted tomato and pepper alongside. Serve as is, or with parsley sprinkled over the top.