“It’s not you, it’s me,” I said to my Blackberry as I flushed it down the toilet.

Flung it into the East River.

Placed it into that shoebox I keep in my closet that is filled with all the things I once thought I loved.  But was wrong about.  Very, very wrong.

(Lies, I tell you.  At least in this case.  Blackberry – it was definitely you.)


I should have known, really.

Because I’m the kind of person who knows these kinds of things at first sight.


But apparently I’m also the kind of person who makes excuses for the things I think I love.

So when my Blackberry broke within the first two weeks of my getting it.  The day before my marathon.

When it forced me to spend a good five hours walking up and down the streets of San Francisco, searching for a Best Buy. And didn’t even think twice about the fact that I was going to have to run 26.2 miles the next day. I should have known that it did not have my best interests at heart.

I should have traded it in, then and there.

Instead of convincing myself that it was truly sorry.  Would try it’s best to do better.  Would never do it again.  (Oh, the lies we tell ourselves to help us sleep at night.)



Then, after eight months had passed and I still hadn’t set up my voicemail or programmed my mother’s telephone number into it.  I really should have questioned our level of commitment to each other.

Now, maybe this was some kind of subconscious protective mechanism on my part.  After all, this phone was surely not built to last.

First the track ball went.  Then the internet stopped working.  Then it flew out of my hands and made straight for a sewer grate on 73rd and 1st.

Truly, it was better that I never really got attached.

Enter the Samsung Galaxy.  The new Android for AT&T.

I set up my voicemail the day that I got itAnd I even put my mother on speed dial.  (Okay.  That’s pushing it.)

Like I said.  I’m the kind of person who knows at first sight.  And this time.  I actually kind of believe that.


And so it goes with this stew.  This is actually the second time that I’ve made it, but when I first came across it in April of 2009.  As soon as I read the ingredients.  I was sure.

And then the heady scent of cinnamon, allspice, cayenne while cooking.  The creamy texture and luscious taste (though unfortunate appearance) of the pureed eggplant.

Took me from being sure to being absolutely downright certain.  Which is why I had to share it with you all again.  Because the previous pictures and post just didn’t do it justice.  And because all of five people were reading my blog then.  And so, really, for many of you.  It’s like I’m posting it for the first time.  Enjoy.

Sultan’s Delight
Serves 4, adapted from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 1/2 lb beef (I used local, grass-fed extra lean stew meat!)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
3 1/2 lb eggplant (3 large eggplants)
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups almond milk
1 cup whole wheat couscous

1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, chopped, and saute until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the beef, allowing to brown on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne.  Mix together and let cook for one minute to allow the flavors to meld.  Add the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and simmer for 30 minutes or until beef is cooked through and sauce has reached the desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3.  In the meantime, cut each of your eggplants in half and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and then scrape the insides out into a bowl.  Strain the water out of them using a fine-meshed strainer.  Using a fork, mash the eggplant innards until they are almost paste-like.

4. Melt the butter over low heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Warm the almond milk in the microwave.  Slowly whisk the warm milk into the pan with the flour, adding just a bit at a time and whisking after each addition.  Simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the eggplant.

5. Cook couscous in vegetable or chicken broth according to package directions.  Serve the stew over the couscous with the eggplant puree on the side.

This is being submitted to: Two For Tuesdays, A Worldly Epicurean’s Delight which is being hosted by Janet of The Taste Space, and Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Siri of Siri’s Corner.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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91 Responses to Sultan’s Delight or Hunkar Begendi or Turkish Beef Stew with Eggplant Puree

  1. polwig says:

    The food looks delish. I love the flavors all spice, cayenne. It’s like jamaca meeting middle east. I’m glad you got a new phone hopefully you will not try to teach this one swimming

  2. Kim says:

    Yes! I can tell without tasting this that I would love this recipe as well AND it is exactly the kind of meal that I would like to have right now (even though it’s still breakfast). I’m starting to get a little burnt out on light summer fare and I find that I’m craving more heartier and comforting dishes like this.

    I hope you get a chance to make Mario’s swiss chard ragu. It was really good. I also think you would love his recipe for pizza dough. Have you tried it yet? It’s awesome for so many reasons.

    And, I’m going to join up with you and Nastashya and start participating with SS. I’m making the zucchini crudo today and I expect to eat the whole batch – LOL!

    Wow- I’m a chatterbox this morning.

  3. Simply Life says:

    Oooh this does look like love at first site 🙂

  4. Giovanna says:

    It looks delicious and so stick to your bones, you know!! : )

    I love that bowl too : )

  5. Dawn says:

    Wow. I love the mix of spices in this dish!

  6. Kristen says:

    Oh yum. I can just smell this cooking…oops, was that drool on my chin?

  7. This looks so fabulous! I love all the different flavors. Great job!

  8. Stella says:

    That damn Blackberry! To Haites with him, Joanne! He never loved you or anyone else for that matter…
    Oh, and this Turkish stuff looks good. Well, as good as beef can look to a vegetarian/flexitarian (wink)! I like that whole wheat cous cous too-good call on the high fiber side with the meat.
    p.s. I didn’t know you had a regional recipes button!?

  9. girlichef says:

    Those hunks of meat look soooo good! I just want to reach in and snag one! and I lova the couscous, so I’m thinkin’ this is one deeeelicious meal. Thanks for sharing it w/ Two for Tuesdays, Joanne =)

  10. this is way beyond my taste palate, but your napkins are gorgeous!

    xo Alison

  11. Ameena says:

    I love it…I am going to use the “It’s not you, it’s me” statement a whole lot more now.

    I love the name of this dish. It sounds so regal! Eggplant is one of my favorite things ever!

  12. janet says:

    You know it is a great dish when you make it a second time!! I had this while in Turkey, and loved it. I can understand why it delighted the Sultan. 🙂

    Thank you for sending it to AWED this month. 🙂

  13. The eggplant puree looks a bit like banana pudding. Your pictures look amazing, this sounds SO GOOD. I don’t cook enough with eggplant. I need to start!

    Glad you like your new toy!

  14. Yosha says:

    I don’t know about the eggplant puree…but you’ve sold me on the stew!

  15. Pam says:

    Oh, this is comfort food at its best! I love eggplant and must try this. Way to go!

    Check out my CSN giveaway and I hope you enter!

  16. elra says:

    It is one of many Turkish culinary delight. It looks beautiful and I know how delicious it is.

  17. Mo says:

    This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 (Sorry about the blackberry, by the way ;P)

  18. I think my husband needs to come to your house for dinner. That looks great 🙂

  19. Sounds terrific and a great recipe for me to use up all the extra eggplants I have!

  20. Swathi says:

    Sorry for your Blackberry. Dishes looks awesome with eggplant i love most.

  21. Suman Singh says:

    that platter of food looks yummie especially that eggplant puree..

  22. Monet says:

    You and your phone woes…I feel you sister! I’m glad you have found something that works for you. And thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I can only imagine how good this must make your kitchen smell and your belly feel!

  23. Katerina says:

    My grandmother used to make this dish. I remember very well the smells and flavors of it. You brought so many memories to me. Great dish!

  24. Alisa says:

    Well, glad you moved onto a better relationship! Keep us posted on how you like it. I’ve still never bought a cell phone, iPad, or otherwise, but may be curious to in the future!

    Love the flavors of that recipe, and you are so eco with that awesome beef. I’ve been avoiding buying beef because I can’t find that stuff around here.

  25. oh sorry to hear about your phone war haha! but glad you have found your match!
    I would love to come home to the smell and taste of this dish!

  26. Mo Diva says:

    your phone stinks. you made the right choice! lol

    i love the eggplant. looks really really good… i just wanna put cheese all over it and make sweet foodie love eating it

  27. Julie says:

    um i love my blackberry and i’m never going back. even if it does freeze from time to time..

    fun fact: my sister’s new apt is on 71st and 1st..i think or 69th one of those..

  28. This looks so, so perfect!! And I love the name Sultan’s Delight 🙂

    I have mixed feelings about my Blackberry, but do love certain things about it. Like the blinking red light whenever I have an email waiting…


  29. This sounds so delicious, and I don’t even like beef! Maybe I will be a nice girlfriend and make this for my boyfriend soon… he’s love it!

  30. Bob says:

    Hmmm, eggplant, huh? I don’t know. I mean sure, it looks and sounds awesome and I’d certainly try it if you made me some… But eggplant has me skeptical. Heh.

  31. Amy says:

    You know that Blackberry was just using you for your soft touch fingers, anyway. My Blackberry is purple and pretty reliable – she only gives me attitude once a month 😉

    So, this stew? Um, hello. YUM. Must make. I don’t remember the previous pictures, but these ones have me sold.

  32. megan says:

    I break out in a sweat when I have to sign a contract for my phone service (commitment-phobic? yes, thank you). So I totally understand not wanting to be in a committed relationship with a Blackberry. I’m an Iphone girl myself.But the android does look cool……

    And – fyi – nice eggplant.

  33. RamblingTart says:

    Wow – that meat looks absolutely succulent, Joanne. 🙂 I’m so glad you re-shared it!! And I love the name – Sultan’s Delight. It makes me grin. 🙂

  34. Cristie says:

    I just got a new iphone and my life is just awful. . . can’t do anything with it. Love your recipe and the thoughts of an eggplant puree is just heavenly.

  35. tigerfish says:

    If you have delighted the Sultan, then you are fit for a Queen (equivalent).

    Can you believe I am still using a phone without a camera? Hahaha!

  36. Sanem says:

    This is one of my favorite Turkish dishes although I don’t make it very often. Not sure why anymore.. This post was a good reminder for me. Thanks Joanne.

  37. Nadji says:

    La cuisine turque est toujours un pur plaisir dans la bouche.
    j’aime beaucoup ce plat.
    A bientôt.

  38. great idea resharing such a delicious recipe

  39. oh man…hope you have better luck with your next phone! the meal looks amazing, esp with the eggplant puree!

  40. Eliana says:

    Thanks for reposting because this dish looks To. Die. For. So when am I coming over for dinner?

  41. Ok, somehow this story makes me feel slightly better about the fact that I’m still carrying around a 10 yr. old cell phone, a real dinosaur. So what that it loses it’s charge after an hour? It still works, right? Right? Hmmm. I know I can always take comfort in a stew like this, me and dinophone. Thanks for sharing with Two for Tuesday, your stories always make me laugh.

  42. sweetlife says:

    sorry about your phone, their lifesavers and a nuisance all in one, great dish…


  43. Oh my word that beef looks like a party in my mouth waiting to happen!! Oh how I wish I had a car right now so I could drive to a grocery store in the suburbs of New Jersey and buy some beef to make this heavenly concoction. But, alas, I am stranded as my car is currently residing at my parents’ home after a series of events I had no control over. Under house arrest to study for Step 2. Woe is me. I want to come back to NYC.

  44. Mari says:

    hey amor!!! I am havin issues with my phone, computer, and nike plus allllll at the same time! it is like a bad bad bad scary movie! the ones where the machines turn against us lol

  45. Caronae says:

    These are classically Middle Eastern flavors! The kind of think my Perisan grandparents might make for us — they really love their stews. It reminds me of one called “fes-en-jun” which is stewed chicken with pomegranate and walnuts. I feel like these are classic Joanne flavors, although I could be wrong. 🙂 Middles Eastern food is exotic but healthful, fun but realistic.

    I love eggplant in any and all forms. I always soak it before cooking to remove the bitterness. I bet that this would be really good as a dipping sauce for pita!

    Okay, sorry if this post makes no sense. It’s been a loooong day…and I still have to go run.

  46. Faith says:

    What a delicious stew! This would be an instant hit in my house…but I may have to eat all the eggplant since Mike doesn’t like it (crazy, I know!). That’s ok, more for me. 😉

  47. Lea Ann says:

    This meat looks so beautiful and tender and mouthwatering. I’m so over my Blackberry, getting an I-phone next week.

  48. hbaker1130 says:


    I too had a crackberry, got it from my sister & suddenly had to give it back. Thought I might die without it, little did I know it never loved me. Ordered an android, when it first came out of the box I thought “can I really love this thing? Can I learn to not use a trackball??!?”

    Yes. I can. I did.

    Oh yeah .. food looks good too. Might have to try that eggplant sometime soon.

  49. Jess says:

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s technically impossible to make eggplant look appetising…

    Good thing it’s so delicious, or I might never bother with it! You win this round, eggplant.

  50. Island living baby… I haven’t had my phone on for a month!

    And that stew will get you that man (86 the eggplant babyfood though)… Actually I do a grilled eggplant puree, but I hide it with pita bread so that it is not as … unfortunate looking (great description)

  51. Kelsey says:

    i need to cook up some beef soon.. hmm i wonder what made me crave beef… haha

    seriously looking tasty! i wouldnt try to substitute anything either, perfect as is 🙂


  52. I can just imagine the wonderful aroma of that cooking! It would have to be heavenly, with all of those flavors. Yum!

  53. Yums! the eggplant pure…i need to try making something like that soon! The beef stew would be perfect soon (when the weather gets cooler in hong kong ^_*)

  54. Hannah says:

    I’m a big fan of babaganoush, so that eggplant puree sounds like it’d be right up my alley. Served up with some marinated tempeh, mmm, now we’re talking!

  55. Kris says:

    LOVE eggplant puree! I’ll email you about our meet tomorrow!

  56. Can something called Sultan’s Delight venture onto the wrong path? No. Never. Not possible. If it’s good enough for the Sultan, then…

  57. Christy says:

    Ah, I believe you – I just know I will love this dish! thanks for such an enjoyable post and amazing recipe – It is a great link for Two for Tuesdays!

  58. Never a fan of mobile phone…
    I want that whole plate of couscous!

  59. Biren says:

    Wow…that eggplant puree sounds good and will surely go so well with the beef stew!

  60. Mary says:

    Joanne, it really looks wonderful. I missed it first time through and it sounds great. It would have been a shame to miss it. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  61. Jodi says:

    I’m sorry about your unfortunate Blackberry story, although it made me laugh. Glad you found one you love! You are a talented writer!

  62. Reeni says:

    The cinnamon and allspice speak to me in this delicious stew! And I love the sound of the eggplant puree. It sounds like immediate love for your new phone. I am still using an old, cheap model…but dream of an iphone…

  63. The stew is looking heavenly!

  64. How could I have missed the blogher 2010 meet? I live so close-by and missed seeing you and Pioneer woman? :((

  65. teresa says:

    cellphones, such a necessary evil. i hope your replacement is still doing the job!

    this looks so good, and full of flavors i have yet to experience. reposting old recipes is a good idea!

  66. The beef looks cooked to perfection.

  67. Raina says:

    This looks super delicious! All of the flavors I love. I am very glad you reposted it.

    I would be lucky if I could figure out how to turn on a Blackberry..lol Glad your new phone sounds good so far:) And good idea to put mom on speed dial..I think..lol

  68. Haha I love how you describe the eggplant as having an unfortunate appearance! Great photos.

  69. Attending medical school and finding the time to make delicious and complex meals like this must leave you wishing there were more hours in the day.I have come to the conclusion that you function on no sleep at all:D

  70. I should not be smiling but I was reminded reading your post of my son’s admonition “don’t ever get a blackberry, it is a piece of ..)
    great meal but then with Claudia Roden as your guide, how can you go wrong!

  71. I can’t wait to start making meals like this again when it finally starts to cool off here. A delight for Sultans and peasants as well.

  72. Stella says:

    Hey Joanne, I just wanted to let you know that I put the ‘Regional Recipes’ button on my sidebar. I hope that’s okay…?!

  73. YUM. I even like the look of the eggplant.

    And this is making me feel relieved that I never got a Blackberry.

  74. Radhika says:

    You are a inspiration for other fellow students Joanne. I seriously admire you for making healthy and tasty meals at home inspite of your hectic school schedule. Way to go gal and I love that beef stew, that makes me drool.

  75. You,my darling, love your meat! But what always makes me so happy is that you have such interesting veggie sides to go with your meat… and this one looks particularly appetizing!

    Also, I am a huge fan of shots from above and the one in this post is incredible!

  76. Velva says:

    I chuckled when I read this post. I thought I was the only one needed to have a relationship with my gadgets and my appliances too.

    Your stew looks really good. I love food like this, just the kind of dish I could have a relationship with too.

  77. Debinhawaii says:

    Yum! It looks exactly like a dish I would love and I am going to go tag the book right now. How did I pass by this one?! 😉

  78. Jo jo, I still dont KNOW if you are living in NY or SF! LOL cause if you are in NYC we are so getting together soon!! You make me laugh with your posts and the recipe is simply divine! Thanks so much for sharing this on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 Alex@amoderatelife

  79. Carolyn Jung says:

    Hey, it’s new to me, and let me just say, it looks totally comforting, satisfying and delicious. Heck, you should run it three times so we can all have more helpings of it. 😉

  80. theUngourmet says:

    I was surprised to find almond milk in the ingredient list. Interesting! This does look delicious. I’m glad you made it again!

  81. MaryMoh says:

    What interesting life…haha. Love your dish. The name is so interesting. I wonder whether the sultans in my country Malaysia like this. I think they would love extra spiciness 😀

  82. Marisa says:

    Sounds like the Blackberry was just toying with you, clearly not in it for the long haul then. 😉

    This looks phenomenal. And as they say, appearances aren’t everything (re the better than it looks aubergine). And Claudia Roden? I love her.

  83. Lori says:

    Wow, the flavors in this do sound wonderful. I especially like that way of serving eggplant with it.

  84. grace says:

    sultan’s delight? i say grace’s delight. what a treat.
    meanwhile, my grandma still calls the wicked contraptions ‘blueberries.’ 🙂

  85. Claudia says:

    I think I can live without Mr. Blackberry. Though some are in love. Ha.

    Claudia Roden, however is another matter, and not just because we share a name. Love her recipes, and your adaptation is on my Sunday night to do list.

  86. Chris says:

    Dear Joanne,

    How could you just leave me like that? I thought you said you loved me. But to just literally toss me in the sewer…

    Your Blackberry

    PS: I still have those pictures you took that night ya’ll were all out drinking after exams….remember those? Come back to me or I’ll post them online.

    PPS: Oh shit, that’s right, I don’t have any internet….

  87. Victoria K. says:

    My Blackberry and I haven’t quite had a falling out yet, but I definitely have a wandering eye, haha. Your photos look great! This dish looks Heavenly 🙂

  88. Kevin says:

    This sounds tasty! I like the way the eggplant side is prepared!

  89. DGrub says:

    Your eggplant dish looks neat and very similar to baba ganoush.

  90. Cara says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve had this saved in my google reader since you posted it, waiting for a time to read it thoroughly. Because anything with eggplant and North African spice blends deserve a thorough examination on my part. Why? Like you, there are things I just know! I know what I like and to that I attribute the facts that I hardly ever order a bad meal or make something I don’t like. It’s kind of a nice power to have, right?

    ps – I know, of course, that I’d love this dish!

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