Recipe for Hunkar Begendi (Roasted Eggplant Puree)


4 small eggplant; (about lb. or
; 2 md. (about 1 lb. ea.)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup kasher/kasseri; freshly
1 ; grated or use romano chee
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 black pepper; freshly grated


First, roast the eggplants in the following fashion: Prick each one in 3 or 4 places with the tines of a long handled fork. Then impale them, one at a time, on the tines of the fork and turn them over a gas flame until the skin chars and begins to crack. (If you have an electric stove, pierce the eggplants, place them on a large baking sheet and broil them 4 inches from the heat for about 20 minutes, turning them so that they char on all sides.) When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel them, cutting away any badly charred spots on the surface. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and chop them finely. Then mash the pulp to a smooth puree with the back of a spoon or with a mortar and pestle. In a heavy 3 to 4 quart saucepan, heat the tablespoon of butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, stir in the flour and when it is completely absorbed pour in the milk all at once. Stirring vigorously with a whisk, cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens heavily. Beat in the pureed eggplant, reduce the heat to low, and, stirring occasionally, simmer for 5 minutes. Off the heat add the cheese, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Beat vigorously until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon. Taste for seasoning and serve at once. Hunkar begendi traditionally accompanies roast or braised veal or lamb.

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