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Sultans Delight With Aubergine Puree

When the Sultan of the Ottoman empire wanted to treat himself, this is what he asked for (also known as hunkar begendi) and we’re not the least bit surprised…it’s amazing!

We’ve chopped and changed it to make it even more decadent, adding Gran Luchito Chipotle Paste and lamb neck fillet, but it remains essentially the same: a beautifully smoky slow-roasted red pepper and melt-in-your-mouth lamb stew served alongside a creamy aubergine and parmesan puree. The Sultan was right, food doesn’t get much better than this and the Big Green Egg is the perfect way to make it with the love and time it deserves.

  • Prep time

    1 hour

  • Cook time

    3 hours

  • Total time

    4 hours

  • Ideal for

    Dinner

  • Make it

    Mexican

  • Serves

    4

How to make it

  1. Set up your Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with the plate setter in the legs up position. You might want to cover the plate setter in foil to protect it from dripping oil. Place cast iron grill on top. Get it to a steady 200 C (the top vent should be closed, with the daisy wheel fully open. The bottom vent should be open about 4 finger’s width).
  2. Prick 4 aubergines and 3 red peppers 4 or 5 times with a fork all over. Rub a little olive oil over them along with a whole head of garlic and 2 red onions with their skins on. Place on to the grill and lower lid. Check every 10 minutes or so. You’re looking to char the skin of the peppers to the point that it will peel away easily, but not so quickly that the inside isn’t cooked. This should take about 20 minutes or so. By this point, the other vegetables should be cooked as well.
  3. Meanwhile, rub 1kg lamb neck fillets in a generous lug of olive oil, salt & pepper.
  4. Remove peppers, aubergines, onions and garlic from Big Green Egg and push heat to 250 C (open top vent about ¼, and open bottom vent to about half way).
  5. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and cover with a plate/cling film so the moisture can’t evaporate (this will help to peel away the skin).
  6. Place lamb neck fillets on the grill and lower lid. Give them about 5 minutes then turn. You’re looking to get a nice char (but not burnt) all around the outside of the fillets.
  7. Remove when browned all over (about 15 minutes total).
  8. Lower temperature of Big Green Egg to 150 C (close top vent and half close daisy wheel. Close bottom vent to 2 finger’s width).
  9. While the lamb rests, peel the skin from the peppers. Discard stalks and seeds.
  10. Remove skin from the garlic and use a knife to squeeze the flesh from each clove. It should be a lovely thick puree.
  11. Blitz the peppers and half the garlic paste in a food processor to make a smooth puree. Don’t discard the pepper sauce you can’t get out of the food processor, fill it with 500 ml tap water and swish it around. You’ll use this later. Keep half the garlic paste for the aubergine.
  12. Remove skin from aubergines by cutting them in half length ways and scooping flesh out with a spoon. Discard skin along with the stalks. Place aside.
  13. Remove skin from onions and cut cooked flesh in to rough chunks.
  14. Cut lamb into bitesize chunks.
  15. In a cast iron pan, add a good lug of olive oil along with the chopped onions, dried oregano, lamb chunks, pepper puree, diced tomatoes, Gran Luchito Chipotle Paste, tomato puree, chopped coriander stalks, anchovies, red wine vinegar, red wine, water and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir then place on the Big Green Egg with no lid for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 mins or so.
  16. The liquid will gradually evaporate and you’ll be left with a lovely thick stew and tender pieces of lamb.
  17. While that’s cooking, make the aubergine puree. You’ll probably want to do this part on the hob in the kitchen.
  18. Mash the flesh of the aubergine with a fork or chop it up with a sharp knife as finely as you can get it.
  19. In a pan over a low/medium heat, melt the butter. Once completely melted, add the plain flour.
  20. Stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes. You should have a thick paste.
  21. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until it boils. It will gradually thicken.
  22. Stir half of the parmesan cheese to make a smooth sauce, then stir in the aubergine pieces, the remaining garlic puree, a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves. Season well with salt & pepper and leave aside.
  23. Toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan to sprinkle over everything later.
  24. When lamb is cooked (taste a bit and it should be incredibly tender), you’ll need to skim the fat from the top. You can either use a spoon to do this, or dab the surface with kitchen roll to soak it up. Either way, make sure you get as much as possible from it and discard. Stir through a handful of chopped coriander, reserving a little to sprinkle over to serve.
  25. You can gently toast some flatbreads on the Big Green Egg when you’re almost ready to serve.
  26. Warm through the aubergine puree and sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and flaked almonds.

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