Fried Lamb with Mashed Eggplant and Kashkaval Cheese
Braised lamb with mashed eggplant and kashkaval cheese is a rustic dish from Istanbul, Turkey. You might think of it a bit like lamb or goat lamb and cheesy mashed potatoes, if those potatoes had a delicious roasty, smoky flavor from being cooked directly over coals.
Roasting eggplant over coals
The original recipe is from a fantastic book on Turkish cooking anyone who likes Middle Eastern food will want to have a copy of: The Turkish Cookbook. The original recipe is just roasted eggplant, but I love charring them whole over coals so much I couldn’t resist embellishing the recipe a bit.
That being said, if you can’t start a fire to roast your eggplant, you can also char them over the flame on a gas burner, or just roast them in the oven as I mention in the recipe, although the flavor won’t be exactly the same. After the eggplant is charred, you remove the skin, chop it, and make it into a chunky mash along the lines of mashed potatoes, with rich kashkaval cheese stirred in at the end.
The lamb is really simple, and I think it’s almost genius in it’s simplicity. You brown some lamb stew meat, then braise in in stock until tender and cool. After it’s cool, you remove it from the liquid, pat it dry, fry it up to brown it again, then spoon it on top of the mashed eggplant—that’s it. It takes a little time to prepare, but you can make the lamb and eggplant mash ahead of time and reheat them if you want to work ahead.
If you like eggplant and different cooking techniques, make sure to give it a try sometime. It’s a great recipe for grill season.
This recipe is by Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, he’s one of the most respected voices in the world of foraging and wild food. He’s best known as the founder of Forager Chef, his website focused on wild ingredients that reaches millions of readers each year. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at foragerchef.com.
Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.
Braised Lamb with Eggplant and Kashkaval Cheese
- ¼ cup rendered lamb tallow plus more for browning the lamb before serving
- 1 lb lamb stew meat
- 2 cups lamb or meat stock
- 2 medium to large Italian eggplant
- 1 small 1 teaspoon clove minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup goat or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour sifted
- 4 oz grated kashkaval cheese
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Fresh grated nutmeg to taste
- For serving
- Fresh torn mint leaves
- Fresh pomegranate seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnishing
- Pat the lamb dry. Season the lamb with ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix well. Heat half of the oil in a dutch oven or a deep oven-safe skillet about 10 inches wide. Working in batches, brown the lamb well on one side, then transfer to a bowl. Pour off any oil from the pot and discard. Add the stock to the pan, scraping up the browned bits, then add the lamb back to the pot, cover, and bake at 275 F for one hour. Cool the lamb and reserve.
- Start a wood grill, then cook the eggplants directly on the hot coals, turning every few minutes, until tender, about 10 minutes. Alternately, bake the eggplants at 300 for 1 hour. Transfer the eggplants to a bowl to cool.
- Put the eggplants on a cutting board, leaving any juice behind, then remove the skin. Cutting the eggplants in half can make peeling easier if some of the skin sticks to the flesh. Discard the charred skin, then cut the eggplant flesh roughly into 1 inch squares.
- Heat a 3 quart or similar sized pan with the butter, then add the eggplant pulp and sweat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, mashing it up as you go with a wooden spoon, until you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir and some liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle in the flour and mix to combine, then cook for 5 minutes more.
- Do not allow the bottom of the pan to darken--if the mixture starts to stick, add the milk. Add the goat or other milk and mix well, then cook until slightly thickened and the mixture looks like mashed potatoes. Turn off the heat and stir the cheese into the eggplant, double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, adjust until it tastes good to you, then reserve.
- To serve, drain the lamb pieces, reserving the cooking liquid to make soup. Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a 10 inch or similar sized skillet, pat the pieces of lamb dry, then add the lamb to the pan and cook until browned and crisp on one side.
- To serve, spread out the hot mashed eggplant in a wide bowl or serving dish, spreading the mash out to the edges of the dish. Spoon the lamb into the center, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh pomegranate seeds, and fresh torn mint leaves.