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Hünkar Beğendi Recipe - Sultan's Delight

Hünkar Beğendi, or Sultan's Delight, is a rich, creamy dish - and if it was good enough for the sultan, it's good enough for us.
Course Ottoman
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 600kcal
Author Turkey's For Life

Ingredients

For The Lamb Stew

  • 500 g lamb from the leg, chopped into cubes
  • 3 medium-large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 dessert spoonful tomato paste
  • 1 dessert spoonful thyme or oregano, or a mix of both
  • 1 knob butter for cooking, around 20g
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

For The 'Beğendi'

  • 3 medium-sized aubergines eggplants
  • 1 handful parmesan grated, or a strong tulum cheese if you are in Turkey
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g plain flour
  • ½ litre milk
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped, to garnish

Instructions

For The Lamb Stew

  • Melt your butter over a medium heat in large saucepan.
  • Now add your lamb and stir it round until it starts to brown.
  • Once your lamb is browned all over, add your onion and garlic and stir.
  • Cook for 5 minutes or so, until your onion starts to sweat.
  • Now add your chopped tomatoes, tomato paste (salça) and one cup of hot water.
  • Stir everything together.
  • Add your thyme/oregano (kekik), salt & pepper and stir.
  • Once your stew is simmering, put a lid on the pan and turn the heat to low.
  • Simmer your stew for around 1 hour, until the lamb has softened and your sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from the heat and make your 'beğendi' puree...

To Make The Aubergine (Eggplant) Puree - The 'Beğendi'

  • Preheat your oven to 240 degrees.
  • Prick your aubergines with a sharp knife and place on a baking tray in the centre of the oven.
  • Bake the aubergines until they are soft to touch (around 15-20 minutes).
  • Remove from the oven and leave them to cool.
  • Once cooled, make a slit along the length of each aubergine.
  • Scrape out the pulp with a teaspoon.
  • Discard the skins and as many of the seeds as possible.
  • Chop up the pulp.
  • Now melt your butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Once melted, gradually add your flour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  • After you've added all your flour, your mixture will be relatively solid and now you can start to add your milk.
  • Add your milk a little at a time, again, stirring continuously so that the mixture remains smooth.
  • Keep going until you have used up all of your milk and you have a smooth, milky mixture.
  • Keep stirring and after a couple of minutes, you will notice the sauce start to thicken.
  • Once the sauce has started to thicken, add your aubergine. Keep stirring, gently.
  • Now add your grated cheese and keep stirring until your 'beğendi' sauce has thickened enough to make a suitable nest for your lamb.
  • To serve, share the beğendi sauce between your plates, making a little nest in the centre of each.
  • Now spoon the lamb stew into the nest and allow the sauces to run over the aubergine puree.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over the lamb and serve up your Sultan's Delight.

Notes

  • The lamb stew for the hünkar beğendi recipe can be cooked in advance and reheated later, when you are ready to serve.
  • When you make the beğendi sauce, aubergines can discolour quickly. If you want to roast them in advance, you can prevent discolouration by placing the pulp in a bowl of water with a light sprinkling of salt and the juice of one lemon.
  • When you are ready to make your sauce, press the aubergine puree in a sieve to drain the water.
  • As always, calorie count is a rough guideline and depends on various factors.