Sultans Delight With Aubergine Puree
This was the chosen dish of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire when they wanted a treat – and it’s amazing!
We’ve made this Sultan’s delight even more decadent, adding chipotle paste and opting for lamb neck fillet over shoulder or leg, but it remains essentially the same beautifully smoky, slow-roasted, red pepper and melt-in-your-mouth lamb stew served alongside a creamy aubergine and Parmesan purée.
You could cook the dish on the hob over a very low heat. Remove the fat from the stew using a piece of kitchen paper. Gently dab the surface until all the fat has been absorbed.
How to make it
TO MAKE THE LAMB STEW
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas 6).
- Prick the aubergines and 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 in a roasting pan and pop them in the oven to roast for 25 minutes until charred.
- Heat a griddle pan until very hot.
- Mix a generous slug of olive oil with a good pinch of salt and pepper and rub all over the lamb neck fillets.
- Sear the lamb in the hot pan and leave to get nicely browned before flipping. Repeat until you have good colour over all surfaces. Remove and leave to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into bite-sized chunks.
- Transfer the peppers, aubergines, onions and garlic to a large bowl and cover with a cling film so the moisture can’t evaporate (this will help to peel away the skin).
- Turn the oven down to 150°C (300°F, Gas 2).
- Peel off the skin from the peppers and discard with the stalks and seeds. Use a knife to squeeze the flesh from each garlic clove. It should be a lovely thick purée.
- Blitz the peppers and half the garlic paste in a food processor to make a smooth purée. Don’t discard the pepper sauce you can’t get out of the food processor. Instead, fill it with about 500ml (17fl oz) of tap water and swish it around. You’ll use this later.
- Remove the skin from the aubergines by cutting them in half lengthways and scooping the flesh out with a spoon. Discard the skin along with the stalks. Remove the skin from the onions and cut the cooked flesh into rough chunks. Leave to one side.
- In a large ovenproof pan, add a good slug of olive oil with the onions, oregano, lamb, pepper purée, tomatoes, chipotle chilli paste, tomato purée, chopped coriander stalks, anchovies, red wine vinegar, red wine, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well, then put in the oven, uncovered, for 2½ hours.
- The liquid will gradually evaporate and you’ll be left with a lovely thick stew and tender pieces of lamb. Check it every 30 minutes and top it up with hot water from the kettle if the liquid is evaporating too quickly.
- Remove and discard the fat from the top (see Chef’s tip). Stir in most of the chopped coriander leaves.
FOR THE AUBERGINE PURÉE
- Mash the aubergine flesh with a fork or chop finely.
- Meanwhile, make a roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in the flour to a paste and cook for 10 minutes over a very low heat until the mix is a bit darker. Gradually whisk in the milk until it boils and thickens.
- Stir in half the Parmesan to make a smooth sauce, then stir in the aubergine pieces, the remaining garlic purée and a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with the toasted almond flakes and remaining Parmesan and coriander.
- Serve with warm flatbreads.