Another dinner from Time-Life Foods of the World: Middle Eastern Cooking. Tonight there was Khoresh Bademjan—Braised Lamb and Eggplant (p35) from Iran.
This is a very tasty dish; there's no heat from chilies, but it's well flavored with onion, turmeric, lemon juice, and pomegranate syrup (aka molasses).
To make a half recipe, I needed about 350g of lamb in 2" (5cm) cubes. At the grocery, there was nothing suitable in the pre-packaged meat cooler (unless I wanted to deal with a whole leg or shoulder or lamb), so I went to the butcher counter and asked the cute young thing wielding the knife for what I wanted. He proceeded to cut cubes, about twice the weight I needed, leading me to think he's quite new to the butchery business. (Our local butcher can magically cut almost exactly the weight you ask.) I went away quite please with my 350g, which turned out to be only four chunks of meat.
This recipe has you peel the eggplant, cut it into long wedges, and soak the strips in salted water. (The recipe has you fastidiously turn the strips with a spoon to moisten them thoroughly with the brine. I just used my hands.) While the eggplant soaks, you brown some onion slices, then remove them to a plate. Next you brown the eggplant strips, drained and dried, and set those aside. Finally you brown the lamb cubes. When those are nicely colored, you add some beef stock (or water), tomato paste, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Then add the browned onions, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Next, the eggplant strips get placed on top of the lamb with some slices of tomato. Lemon juice and pomegranate molasses are added, and the whole thing is covered and simmered another 45 minutes.
This dish is traditionally accompanied by chelo, a rice dish topped with raw egg yolks. I meant to make this, but neglected to calculate in 2 hours for soaking the rice before it's cooked. So it was just plain rice basmati tonight.
I made the Radish and Sour Cream Salad (p87) again tonight, this time with only 1/3 cup sour cream (crème fraîche) for the sauce. I suspect only 1/4 cup would be fine, meaning that measurement should be reduced by half for a whole recipe. An excellent salad.
Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their September cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?