Eggplant Stew (aka Patlicanli Kebap)
4 small eggplants
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chuncks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
parsley sprigs, to garnish
1lb mutton (lamb is the main meat choice in Turkish cooking, but if you can't find any, beef should do the trick)
2 1/2 cups meat stock or water
1. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into four pieces and soak in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain them and squeeze a bit to extract some of the excess water.
2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant lightly, in batches. (I always find that eggplant soaks up every bit of oil in a pan, and the recommended amount doesn't seem to be enough. I'm not sure what to do about this, so I usually add a bit extra, just to make sure they don't stick to a dry pan.) Set aside when done.
3. In the same oil (again, heat up a bit more if its all been soaked up by your eggplant), fry onion, bell peppers and meat. I usually make sure the meat is browned a bit on all sides, but you don't need to cook it too much. Drain and set aside.
4. Melt margarine or butter in an ovenproof casserole or big pot, stir in tomato paste, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, add meat and vegetables, and season to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours (or alternatively, in a preheated 350 F oven). Serve hot and garnish with parsley sprigs.
Its great served with a bit of crusty bread, and maybe some olives.
Afiyet olsun! (Turkish for bon appetite!)