Every year, our church has a fundraiser auction to raise money for our youth group. This year, I planned a Mediterranean 3-course dinner and auctioned off seats for five guests to join me for the meal. I’ll share the menu in two parts.
I’m going to start with the new main dish that I learned from this meal, called Sultan’s Delight – a creamy eggplant base topped with lamb stew.
This is a different way of cooking eggplant, and it made a wonderful creamy puree that everyone loved. It was probably the most talked-about part of the meal. This dish could sway even those folks out there who don’t think they like eggplant. I followed the recipe on a blog called Almost Turkish Recipes, the only change that I made was in the preparation of the eggplant after roasting. Where it called to mash the eggplant with a fork, mine was pretty stringy so I went ahead and pureed it in a blender, which resulted in a very smooth end product.
After roasting and mashing/pureeing the eggplant, you make a creamy bechamel sauce and mix it in with the eggplant. The other addition is a turkish cheese called kashkaval. I was able to find this cheese at our local Lebanese restaurant & grocery, Neomonde. It is a sheep’s milk cheese, very mild flavored and soft enough to melt into the dish.
In Sultan’s Delight, this creamy eggplant puree is topped with a tomato lamb stew. I need to find a better place to buy lamb meat, but what I found this time was a stew meat. Unfortunately, there was very little meat on the bone. I also found the stew as listed on the blog linked above to be less flavorful than I wanted. So I made some adjustments, here’s a summary (I don’t have amounts, since I was just making it up as I went, sorry!).
I browned the lamb meat, onions and green pepper, and added the tomatoes, tomato paste and water to stew the lamb for 1 hour as described in the other blog. Then I extracted the meat and cooled it down so that I could pick off the meat. When I saw that there was not enough meat and it didn’t seem tomato-y enough, I started over by browning beef chunks. To this, I added more tomato paste and added back the rich lamb broth (bones do add a lovely depth of flavor) and the bit of lamb meat that I had extracted. It was stewed down for awhile and then reheated the day of the dinner, which resulted in a tender and flavorful topping for the eggplant.