A quintisential Persian dish, Khoresht-e Badenjan is one of the most well-known and loved of the Persian stews.Slight variations of this recipe can be found throughout the Middle East like some calling for the addition of grapes, golden raisins, or loomi (dried limes) for adding a sour note.Just keep in mind that preparing this dish takes some time and requires about 1 hour cooking time, but it is well worth it.
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil plus more if necessary
2 1/2 lbs. small eggplants, cut into strips
1 onion, halved and sliced
8 oz. lamb, trimmed of visible fat, cut into small cubes
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c small, unripe grapes or golden raisins (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the eggplants until they are soft.Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
2. Add the onion and fry until translucent.Add the lamb cubes and cook till browned. Add the turmeric, tomato paste,chopped tomatoes, grapes or golden raisins (if using)and lemon juice and enough water to cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the eggplants to the simmering stew with a little more water, season with salt and pepper, cover, and continue simmering further for another 20 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.