This is one of my favourite stews – or as we call in Turkish, Pot Kebabs, “Tencere Kebabi”. The marriage of sweet, meaty aubergines with the delicately flavoured shallots (and lots of it) is divine; you hardy need the meat to add extra flavour (You may try excluding the meat for a delicious vegetarian course). I love dipping the crusty bread to its juice. Also the lentil/bulgur patties (recipe is under the section of mezes in the blog) goes very well to dip into the yummy juice of the stew.
Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally Turkish dinner in our home, as our international (extended) family loves Turkish cooking, especially the aubergines. So this will be my main course this year. You can cook this delicious stew ahead of time and any left overs can be frozen successfully. You can enjoy entertaining stress-free:)
And a little photo from the wonderful Wisley Gardens; the frost on the plants make the gardens look absolutely magical.
Preparation time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes
3 small to medium eggplants (aubergines), quartered and sliced
450gr/1lb shallots, peeled and cut in half
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
1 carrot, cut in cubes
500gr/ 1 ¼ lb beef or lamb in chestnut sized pieces
90 ml/ 6 tablespoon olive oil
400gr/ 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
15ml/1 tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste (optional)
8fl oz/ 1 cup water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper
Spread the eggplant slices in a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave for 15-20 minutes. Salt will help to take the moisture out of the eggplants. Drain the juices, as they are bitter, and squeeze dry the eggplants with paper or tea towel.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan. Stir in the eggplants and shallots and sauté until they start to turn golden brow (my mother actually would shake the pan too, so that the aubergines don’t get bruised:) Season with salt and pepper. Add the meat to brown a little. Toss in the carrots and potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stir well. Season with salt and black pepper generously. Add the chopped tomatoes, red pepper paste (if used) and water, mix well. Check the seasoning and add the red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat for about 40 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
Serve hot with some nice crusty bread or plain rice by the side. The bulgur&lentil; patties in the blog (under Meze section) would go really well to dip in the delicious juice of the stew too.