Sunday, 23 June 2013

Recipe of the Moment: Kashk-e Bademjan (but not as you know it)
Persian Lamb & Aubergine Stew.

The inspiration behind this particular dish comes from the quintessentially Persian appetiser, Kashk-e Bademjan.
Made predominantly from mashed aubergines, garlic and 'kashk' (a kind of soured cheese made from whey) this scrumptious dip is simply glorious when served alongside warm flatbreads, and a scattering of walnuts and pomegranate.

Discovered by Mr Cow and I during ‘date night’ at our local Persian restuarant (kudos to Debsh in Nottingham) we have both become avid devotees of this delightful
hors d'oeuvre.
The problem with Kashk-e Bademjan however, (other than the inevitable arguments caused by attempting to share it) is that it just doesn't last. And although I have enjoyed many fantastic Persian entrees, I can't help but think that the 'support act' is better than the main event.

With this in mind, I set about chartering somewhat unknown territories, and began looking at ways to promote this traditional appetiser to centre stage.
I was thinking lamb; I was thinking stew, I was thinking gargantuan amounts of flatbread, walnuts and cheese... I was thinking hearty yet healthy. (What was I thinking!!?)

Before you read on, I have to disclaim the blatantly obvious... I know very little about Persian cuisine (other than that I love stuffing my pie-hole with it) and therefore cannot be held responsible for any discredit or offence this creation may have, or may continue to cause, to any person at all affiliated with Iran.

Persian Lamb & Aubergine Stew


©       450g Lean Lamb Steaks (Leg is good)
©       1kg (or 4 to 5) medium Aubergines
©       600g Root Veg (Squash, Carrots, Sweet Potato etc)
©       300g Celery sticks
©       300g roughly chopped Onion
©       4 cloves of garlic
©       Large handfuls of Mint, Coriander, and Parsley.
©       Salt / Pepper
©       1 tbsp Advieh*
©       2 tbsp Olive Oil
©       300ml Lamb stock

For the marinade:-
©       Juice of 1 Lemon
©       1 tbsp Advieh*
©       1 tbsp dried Ghormeh Sabzi**
To Serve:-
©       Kashk*** or Soured Cream
©       Walnuts
©       Pomegrantes


1.      Chop your lamb into itty bitty pieces, then coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for as long as possible… (within reason of course)

2.     Peel the aubergines and slice lengthways. Stick them in a colander and dowse with two  generous teaspoons of salt to draw out the water. If you can, place a heavy(ish) weight on top; something like a pan lid is ideal. Leave them in this uncompromising position for between 30 minutes to an hour.

3.     Once the aubergines are sufficiently dehydrated (there has to be a more culinary term for this!) roughly chop and toss them in a tablespoon of oil. Pop them on a baking sheet, and roast in a hot oven until golden brownish. (I prefer them slightly chargrilled, as it gives the dish a sweeter taste.)

Whilst the aubergines are roasting…

4.     Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large and pre-loved casserole dish, and add the roughly chopped onion. Fry gently for a few minutes until ever so slightly shimmery, then carefully remove and set aside around a third of the mix.

5.     Chop a clove of garlic and add to the pan with the remaining onions. Elegantly throw in your lamb (including the marinade) then give everything a grand old mix. Stir Fry for around 10 minutes on a medium heat.

6.     Peel and chop whatever root veg you have chosen to use (think ungainly bite-sized) and slice the celery sticks into quarters. When the onion is almost translucent and the meat lightly browned, throw in the veggies and a tablespoon or so of Advieh* spice mix.  Add a good pinch of pepper, a pinch of salt, and the lamb stock. Stir, replace the lid, and hold on a gentle simmer.

7.     Once the aubergines are cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and pop them into a blender for mashing. Throw in the onion alongside a generous sprig of mint, and the remaining garlic. Blitz into a thick puree-esque porridge-y consistency.

8.    Tip the contents of the blender (minus blades of course) into your casserole dish, and stir to combine. The dish should have a thick curry like consistency once everything is nicely mixed – if it doesn’t, add a little water. Pop the whole thing in the oven at 150 degrees-ish and slow cook until the lamb is tender and the veggies are done (around 1 ½ - 2 hours should do it.)

9.    Once cooked, roughly chop generous handfuls of parsley, mint, and coriander (the holy trinity of Persian cuisine) and stir through. Dish up and garnish with a scattering of walnuts, pomegranates, and a sprig of mint if you like. Drizzle generously with Kashk*** (if you’ve been able to get it – use sour cream if not) and serve. Goes great with warm flatbreads, and a simple lemon salad.

Serves 4 hungry hippos as a main course, and contains around 350 Calories per serving.

Nooshe jaan!!!!

The Scoffing Cow's Top Tips

My mother and Delia Smith (who I sometimes think are actually the same person) always taught me to marinate my meat. Hence the lamb in this recipe was treated to a good coating of Advieh*, dried ghormeh sabzi**, and lemon juice, and left covered in the fridge overnight. Although I think this step adds flavour to the overall dish, it doesn’t necessarily tenderise the meat, hence if you’re short of time, just give it a good dry rub before searing.

*Advieh is a spice blend used in Persian cuisine, not too dissimilar in use from Garam Masala or Ras-el Hanout. I picked up a ready-made blend from my local ethnic market, but from what I understand, it’s relatively simple to make yourself.  The Persian Kitchen has a recipe here -> If you’re feeling lazy, a mix of nutmeg, cumin and cinnamon should suffice.

**Again purchased from my local, containing dried parsley, coriander and fenugreek.

***Available in most middle eastern or north African grocery stores, but still tricky to get hold of… There are a number of good alternatives which if we were making traditional Kashk-e Bademjan, I perhaps wouldn’t advocate, but since we aren’t… try soured cream, or even crumbled feta blitzed with a good helping of yoghurt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, thanks!