Sultan’s Delight or Hünkar Beğendi is easily one of my top 10 meals of all time. I have made it a few different ways and this recipe below is the tastiest! I have heard of people replacing the lamb with meatballs, beef or chicken but I can’t imagine it being as good as the lamb.
I took these photos using the camera in my phone as I don’t have an SLR camera at the moment. This is a recipe that tastes so much better than it looks anyway
The tender lamb and the creamy eggplant (aubergine) go together beautifully. It’s such a magical combination. Make sure you slow cook the lamb more than an hour and a half though as you want it to melt in your mouth.
I haven’t tried a vegetarian version of sultan’s delight but the eggplant puree is delicious. I can imagine it going well with all sorts of other things. Let me know how you go.
- Boneless shoulder lamb 1.3kg or 3 pounds (roughly), cut into chunky bite sized pieces
- Olive oil splash
- Garlic 3 large cloves, crushed
- Spanish onion large, diced
- Tomato paste 1 tablespoon
- Tomatoes 3, chopped finely. Many recipes will tell you to peel and deseed the tomatoes but I don't think it makes much difference, so I don't bother.
- Oregano dried 1 tablespoon
- Thyme dried ½ teaspoon
- Lamb or beef stock 2 cups
- Italian parsley to garnish, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Eggplants 3 large or 4 small
- Salt 1 tablespoon
- Milk 1 cup
- Lemon juice from 1 small lemon
- Unsalted butter ¼ cup
- Plain flour ¼ cup
- Water 3 cups
- Grated cheese 2 cups, grated
- Thickened cream or heavy cream 2 tablespoons
- Use a good splash of olive oil in a large saucepan and brown the diced pieces of lamb.
- Then add the crushed garlic and diced onion for a few minutes, stir around a little.
- Add the herbs (oregano and thyme), tomato paste, tomatoes, and the lamb stock.
- Bring the ingredients to the boil and season with salt and pepper.
- After bringing the ingredients to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer on a low heat with the lid on for about 1 hour.
- The lamb is ready to eat after one hour, BUT I then take the lid off and let it simmer for another 40 minutes to one hour. So all up it's about ! hour and 40 minutes.
- Now that the lamb is cooking away slowly in the background, prick the eggplants and place them on the grill. I just use the grill setting in my oven. I place them in a shallow baking tray on a cooling rack and regularly turn them. It usually takes about 15 to 25 minutes to collapse the eggplants so that the insides are soft and creamy.
- Place the lemon, salt and 3 cups of water into a big bowl, ready for the eggplants when they cool down later.
- Peel the eggplants by hand after they have cooled down a little and place the pulp in the bowl of water and lemon juice. Mix it around a little and let it sit for a few minutes.
- You can then just drain the water using a strainer and then the eggplants are ready to use in the next step. Or I sometimes then put the eggplant in a food processor to get a really smooth and consistent texture.
- Warm the milk and cream in a small saucepan and melt the butter in a larger saucepan at the same time. Then add the flour to the melted butter while mixing it in well.
- Add the warm milk and cream mix to the melted butter and flour mix and whisk it well. Mix it very well. The mixture shouldn't be boiling.
- After a minute or two, add the eggplant pulp (if you popped it into a food processor earlier it'll be a lovely texture) and the cheese to the mix and whisk it all very well for another 4 or 5 minutes.
- To serve, pour the yummy eggplant mixture on to a plate, covering the bottom, and then place the tender lamb pieces on top. Garnish with Italian parsley and then.. yum, yum :-)