Recipe: Hunkar begendi - slow-cooked lamb shank with eggplant puree

Chef Murat Kara, from DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island, shares a recipe using one of his favourite ingredients: roasted Turkish chilli flakes

Hunkar Begendi. Courtesy DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island
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Famously sprinkled over doner kebabs in their ground form, Turkish chilli flakes have an intense colour, and fruity, aromatic flavour, without being too spicy. Chef Murat Kara, from DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island, reveals that he roasts the chilli flakes to “give more flavour and a smoked quality to the dish.

This is a traditional method of cooking in Turkey, and makes the food more delicious.” Accordingly, in this recipe, the chef uses the roasted flakes to add piquancy to the sauce, as well as to garnish the dish at the end. The recipe also uses the Turkish kasar cheese, which is typically made from cow or sheep’s milk boiled in salt water.

Hunkar begendi (slow-cooked lamb shank with aubergine puree)

Ingredients and method for the iskender sauce and lamb shank

3 mushrooms

Mirepoix vegetable (1 carrot, 1 yellow onion and 2 celery sticks, all chopped finely)

Bouquet garni (basil, rosemary, bay leaf, parsley and thyme,
to taste)

Cooking butter

80g roux (1tbs flour and 1tbs of butter, fried together)

230g tomato paste

180g pepper paste

100g roasted chili flakes

100g salt

1 piece lamb shank

Put the mushrooms and mirepoix vegetables with a bit of butter in a pan and saute for five minutes on low heat, but don’t brown. Add in the roux, mix well, and then add 500ml of water along with the bouquet garni, tomato paste, pepper paste, roasted chilli flakes and salt. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat

Place the lamb shank in a deep oven tray, pour the iskender sauce over it, then cover with aluminum foil, place in the oven, allow to cook for four hours on 160°C.

Ingredients and method for the begendi

1 large aubergine

3tbs butter

2tbs flour

200ml milk

150g Turkish kasar cheese

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

50g nutmeg

Salt and white pepper powder, to taste

Prepare the begendi by chargrilling the aubergine; keep changing sides every 10 minutes until fully cooked, then set aside for five minutes. Peeling off the skin and finely chop.

In a separate pot, heat the butter, then add the flour and mix well.

Add milk little by little, continuously mixing until it forms a smooth and silky paste.

Add the chopped aubergine, kasar cheese, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper, all while mixing continuously.

To serve and garnish

Put the begendi at the base of your serving plate, then add the lamb shank with sauce. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and additional roasted chilli flakes.

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