Hünkar Beğendi – Beef over Eggplant Mash

This dish is called "the Sultan liked it," in Turkish. This classic Turkish dish is one of the kinds of food served in the Ottoman palace kitchens.It is easy to prepare this dish especially if you already have roasted eggplant on hand.

This dish is called “the Sultan liked it,” in Turkish. This classic Turkish dish was once served in the Ottoman palace kitchens. It is easy to prepare especially if you already have roasted eggplant on hand.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

• 750 grams / 1 pound top round beef, or other cut suitable for stewing, cut into cubes
• 4 cups fire-roasted eggplant or canned, roasted eggplant
• 1 onion, grated
• 1 tomato, grated
• 1 tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. pepper
• ½ tsp. sugar
• 3 rounded tbsp. butter
• 2 heaping tbsp. flour
• 3 to 4 cups milk
• 1/3 cup grated, aged Turkish kaşar cheese,
• 1 tsp. salt
• Freshly ground white pepper to taste
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

How to prepare:

1. Squeeze the extra liquid out of the grated onion and place it in a covered saucepan along with the meat and the grated tomatoes. Add the salt, pepper and sugar. Stir the ingredients until combined.

2. Start the mixture on high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Let the meat simmer very slowly, stirring occasionally, until very tender and the tomato and onion are reduced to a thick sauce, usually about 1 hour.

3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the eggplant mash. If using jarred eggplant, drain the contents in a fine wire strainer and rinse with a little water. Press the eggplant flesh in the strainer to remove extra liquid.

4. Melt butter in a large shallow saucepan or skillet. Add flour and stir for a minute or two without allowing the flour to burn. Add the milk and stir with a wire whisk to form a smooth paste.

5. Add salt, pepper and optional garlic and continue stirring with the whisk over low heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Finally, add the eggplant and cheese and continue stirring until mixture is smooth with no large pieces of eggplant.

6. Turn down heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the pan and let it gently bubble for about 5 minutes. When the eggplant mash is ready, give it a final stir. Cover the bottom of a serving platter generously with the hot mash.

7. Arrange the hot beef stew on top of the mash at the center of the platter, leaving a ring of mash all around the meat. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs just before serving.

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