This is not your average lamb stew, this is an aromatic, absolutely delicious lamb stew. I cannot believe how amazing this flavour combination was. I have never served a stew this way before, never have I thought to gently add a stew on top of an eggplant yoghurt sauce, and even just before I did serve it this way I questioned whether I should, as I didn't want to ruin the stew, but I figured I'm cooking Turkish, follow the recipe, and I am so glad I did, it was amazing.
This Eggplant Yoghurt Sauce I can eat on its own, by the spoon full, just with bread, it's so good. Teamed with the stew, it's perfection. The eggplants need a smoky flavour, this can be achieved by cooking them on your barbecue or by placing the eggplants directly over the flame of your gas stove. If you can’t do either of those, then you can also use your oven grill for that charred flavour. With the gas stove, if the eggplants are not cooked through before the skin has blackened, just pop the eggplants on a baking paper lined baking tray and place in a preheated 180C oven for about 10-20 minutes until cooked through. Undercooked eggplant is not good, make sure they are cooked through.
It's funny, as I was researching Turkish recipes for this adventure, I came across a different version of this recipe using mince (which I still will try), but I had half a lamb leg in the freezer that my husband won in a meat raffle and when I was trying to figure out what I was going to make with it, I just thought let's try something Turkish. This recipe happened by chance, I love that. Now the leg was great, but next time I would try it with Lamb Shoulder as the meat would be a little softer, but having said that, if I have a leg in the freezer again, I'll happily make this again with it.
I served this stew with homemade pita bread, it's a super easy recipe.
If by chance you can't find Turkish pepper paste, use ajvar which is a capsicum and eggplant sauce, which I find is readily available in stores.
What I love about our food adventures is that my family are willing to try everything. I love when they walk in the house and smell the new aromas and are excited to try dinner. I love watching their faces while they eat as they try something they have never had before, I love when they love the new food I've introduced to them.
This recipe has excited me about Turkey, this recipe I will be making for years to come, you really need to try it.
1kg boneless Lamb Shoulder or Lamb Leg, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup Turkish pepper paste or 2 roasted peppers minced, or ajvar
½ cup tomato passata
2 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
3 medium eggplants or 4 large Japanese eggplants
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Garnish & Serve
Homemade Pide Bread
Start by seasoning the lamb with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and chilli flakes, mix well to combine and set aside.
Make the stew, in a cast iron saucepan add the oil and onion, sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add in the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds then add the lamb pieces and sauté for further 5 minutes.
Then add the Turkish pepper paste, tomato passata, vegetable stock and bay leaf, stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the stew and allow the lamb to cook over low heat (gentle simmer) for 1 hour. After one hour remove the lid and simmer for an additional 1 hour or until the sauce has thickened to your liking and the meat has softened.
Prepare the eggplants: In the meantime, prick the eggplants using a knife or fork. Place the egg plants directly over flame–stove, barbecue or grill. You want the skin to be charred and black, and the eggplant will be soft. If by chance your eggplants are not soft and the skin is black, just pop them on baking paper lined baking tray and place in a preheated 180C oven for about 10-20 minutes until cooked through. Undercooked eggplant is not good, make sure they are cooked through. Cover the eggplants and set aside for 10 minutes until the skin has softened. This can be done in advance.
An hour before needed mix the yogurt with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Peel the eggplant and mince it using a knife. Mix the yoghurt and eggplant together, until combined. Leave out of the fridge.
When the lamb is ready, it's time to plate up. Start by layering the eggplant and yogurt at the bottom of the plate. Serve the stew right on top of the eggplant yogurt mixture along the middle. Garnish with more chilli flakes, parsley and lemon. Serve immediately with pide bread.
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