Friday, July 15, 2011

Turkish-Inspired Borlotti Bean and Lamb Stew with Cheesy Eggplant Purée - A Guest Post by Rosa Mayland of Rosa's Yummy Yums

With wildly eclectic interests that range from heavy-metal music to homey domesticity, Rosa Mayland has a personal style of natural magnetism. It is no wonder that her blog, Rosa's Yummy Yums, approaching its sixth year, should have such a wide and devoted following. Her Blogger profile alone boasts over 66,000 views. This is a girl who clearly gets around all parts of the world through her kitchen. And when she is not innovating special recipes to cook, bake, and photograph, Rosa takes her talents to the road where her camera revels in the Swiss countryside around Geneva, where she makes her home. We are routinely treated to the visual splendors of weekend getaways with their dazzling natural beauty, often in pictorial essays, but sometimes tucked into her writings on all things sweet and savory, mixed with her very wise, soulful, or entertaining observations of the world at large.


Back in her kitchen, Rosa, of English and French-Swiss extraction, broadens our horizons farther as she carries us along with recipes which emphasize sound nutrition, natural ingredients, and economy of table, without sacrificing flavor, hedonism, and originality. A strong advocate of home cooking, Rosa never fails to serve her large readership generous portions of all the pleasures created as mistress over her own pots and pans. Despite her prodigious kitchen and blogging output (with over 1,000 posts), she is always the very first friendly face to comment on your own latest culinary creation. I'm not quite sure if there is anyone out there who doesn't know who Rosa Mayland is, but to those scant few, let hers be the first friendly blog you comment on to start your day.

I am very happy to present Rosa and her outrageously inventive and flavorful stew which she has created as a guest blogger in celebration of My Legume Love Affair - Kicking Off Year 4.

The following writing, recipes, and photography are owned by Rosa Mayland and protected by copyright. All Rights Reserved. 2011. All materials appear here by permission and courtesy.


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Rosa1LoneTomato

In August my blog will celebrate its 6th year of existence and while it might not be the oldest or the most fashionable or famous site on the internet, I am nonetheless very proud to have been able to go the distance and I feel so blessed to have brought it to a certain level of “popularity.” Thanks to “Rosa’s Yummy Yums," I have had the opportunity to discover numerous inspirational blogs and come across many brilliant, moving and like-minded foodies hailing from all corners of the planet and whom I have befriended and even met.

As corny as it might sound, I have to say that the blogging world is a vast and exciting place to be. Not one day passes without me discovering new as well as fascinating sites or thinking to myself that I am so happy to be part of such a remarkable community of people who share the same passion, enthusiasm and respect for food as me.

So when Susan proposed me to write a guest post for “My Legume Love Affair N°37” I was honored and thrilled to have been chosen by her. There was no way I was going to turn down her offer as I have much respect for this lovely lady whose blog I have been visiting and enjoying since 2007…

Thank you so much, dear!

Rosa2StewonEggplant

Being someone for whom it is a must to feed in a healthy and budget-friendly manner, it is natural that leguminous vegetables are an important part of my nutrition. I very much appreciate meat, but I firmly believe that we should not overdose on it as it is not an everyday necessity (not ecologic or particularly beneficial for one’s well-being when it consumed on a daily basis), so it is for that reason that I am a part-time vegetarian.

Another ground for not being a big carnivore is my limited financial situation. I cannot afford to spend a fortune on grub and unfortunately, meat is not cheap here in Switzerland. Yet, despite my limitations, I am determined to cook mouthwatering repasts while controlling my expenses, so those little babies come in handy as they are inexpensive/economical, versatile, nourishing, lipsmackingly scrummy and packed with nutritional benefits (protein, minerals, oils, calcium and vitamins) as well as energy. Did you know that when pulses are combined with dairy products, eggs, veggies, reasonable quantities of nuts/seeds and oil, you are assured to get all that your body needs and your diet can be labeled as well-balanced?

Regretfully, no matter if those precious gems are considered to be good for one’s wellness and bank account, too many people still have preconceived visions about them and categorically dislike them. So sad as it is a wonderful ingredient that has a lot of potential and which is used in many different cuisines around the world. So, if you adore the culinary traditions of India, the Middle East, Africa or the Mediterranean, you’d better get acquainted with this minuscule wonder of nature!

My appreciation of legumes is not recent. As far as I can remember, I have always carried those dry fruits in my heart and savored them with much pleasure. It is impossible for me to get bored of concocting succulent menus with them.

Maybe, it has to do with the fact that I was raised on legumes and have been eating them all my life. At home, my very health-conscious mother kept several bags of beans on stock and made sure that there was an abundance of choice. Considering that 50% of our meals were vegetarian, not one week passed without us being served a legume-based dish for lunch or dinner.

Generally, legumes were employed to create salads, patties, soups or stews. My mom prepared a wide assortment of tasty dishes with them, but she didn’t experiment that much with pulses and made only very few traditional English or Swiss specialities with that ingredient. The same can be said about both my grandmothers who also cooked their legumes in a very basic fashion.

Rosa3Tree

My English granny who lived in Derbyshire usually whipped up some devilishly tasty mushy peas to accompany the fish & chips that we fetched from one of the best chippies in England/town, hastily brought back home and savored in the garden. One of her speciality was also fresh homegrown broad beans which were boiled, flavored with mint and served with butter. When it comes to my Swiss grandmother, she principally cooked with lentils and prepared dishes that were very French-like. I cannot recall her offering us another variety of legumes, but I will never forget her extraordinarily comforting, incredibly palatable, bay leaf-infused and wintry green lentil stew that she accompanied with Saucisson Vaudois (a large type of smoked sausage that is poached or sometimes baked in brioche bread) and boiled potatoes.

Although my family’s legume dishes were absolutely delectable, they are either not really worthy of blogging about as they are too simple or they are just too calorific, hence not being suited for the summery season. This is why I decided to come up with an original recipe that I would invent specially for this event and which would reflect my personality.

Having a buoyant imagination and being a food obsessed maniac who is totally addicted to Far Eastern specialities, I had no problem coming up with a glorious idea while rummaging through my cookbooks, in search for inspiration. For this very occasion, I was going to cook a highly-seasoned “Turkish-Inspired Bean & Lamb Stew” which would be served on a lusciously velvety bed of “Cheesy Eggplant Purée”. That sounded pretty awesome and promising. The sheer thought of all those fantastic flavors mingling in my mouth sent shivers down my spine. I could not wait to get in the kitchen and play!

Just like a witch making her secret potion, I stood above my pans and artfully added the ingredients one after the other while malicefully grinning with excitement and devilish anticipation. As it is my habit, I improvised greatly. I did put my observations as well as the basic guidelines down on paper and write a list of ingredients with approximative amounts, but it was all very vague. It is only once I had my knife and spatula in my hands that my final recipe started to take shape.

A lot of cupboard opening, mad chopping, spice sprinkling, enthusiastic stirring, loving simmering, deep thinking and concentrated tasting took place. One and a half hour later, the ragout and cream were ready, and the apartment was filled with the most exhilarating of smells. I was knackered. I felt exhausted, as if I had worked hard at the gym. However, I was overjoyed by the gorgeous and succulent meal that graced my table. Just amazing!

The purée was beautifully creamy, soul-upliftingly hearty, magnificently smooth and groovily cheesy. The stew was exquisitely aromatic, remarkably flavorful, pleasantly beany, lightly lamby and deliciously tomatoey. Both complemented one another perfectly and even my boyfriend who is not the immense fan of beans - on account of their floury texture (unless they are served in the form of hummus) - had second servings and did not complain.

I hope my dish will spark your interest and give you as much pleasure as it did to us!

Rosa4StewonBlue

~ Turkish-Inspired Borlotti Bean & Lamb Stew With Cheesy Eggplant Purée ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, June 2011.

Serves 4.

Ingredients for the "Borlotti Bean Stew":

4 Tbs Olive oil
2 Red onions, chopped
6 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
230g Ground lamb
1 Carrot (big), diced
2 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Ground cumin
2 Tsp Ground coriander
1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 Ground allspice
1/2 Tsp Fennel seeds
4-5 Sprigs thyme
570g (4 medium) Tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbs Tomato paste
2 Tsps Turkish chilli paste
450ml Chicken stock
2 Tbs Pomegranate molasses
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
400g Cooked borlotti beans
Fresh coriander or flat parsley, chopped (for decorating)

Ingredients for the “Eggplant Purée”:

4 Italian eggplants
6 Tbs (90g) Unsalted butter
4 1/2 Tbs Flour
480-500ml Light cream (25% fat)
200g Gruyère cheese, grated
1 Pinch nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste

Method for the "Borlotti Bean Stew":

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, until hot.
2. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent and golden.
3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
4. Add the ground lamb and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
5. Add the carrot and cook for about 3 more minutes, then add the paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, fennel seeds and thyme. Stir quickly.
6. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste and chilli paste. Stir well and cook for 3 more minutes before you add the stock, molasses, salt and pepper to taste.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer with the lid off for about 1 hour, or until the stew is thick, most of the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes have “melted” (it should have the consistency of a chilli).
8. Add the cooked beans and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Rosa5BeansinBowl

Method for Ingredients for the “Eggplant Purée”:

1. While the stew is simmering, stab the eggplants several times with the knife or a fork and bake them whole at 250° C (480° F), on a baking tray lined with baking paper for about 35 minutes, or until the eggplants look slightly charred and are soft.
2. Remove them from the oven and let it cool.
3. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and scrape away any of the eggplant flesh that remains on the skin. Discard the skin.
4. Drain the eggplants in a colander while you make the béchamel.
5. In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook this mixture for few minutes, until lightly golden in color, then gradually add the cream, stirring constantly with a whisk to keep it from lumping.
6. Cook the béchamel for a 1-2 minutes to thicken.
7. Meanwhile, purée the eggplants in a blender until you obtain a homogenous and fine mixture.
8. Incorporate this purée to the béchamel and mix. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the grated cheese and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
9. Stir well to avoid the cheese from lumping.
9. Serve together with the stew and sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander.

Remarks:

You can replace the fresh tomatoes by the same quantity canned Italian tomatoes.
If you don't have any Turkish chilli paste, then you can also use the same quantity of red Tabasco or harissa.
Both the eggplant purée and the stew can be made in advance and reheated when desired.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with pita-like flatbreads.

Rosa6StewwithBread


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13 comments:

sra said...

That's certainly an inventive dish, Rosa! I love the photo of that tomato!

Maris(In Good Taste) said...

Great guest post with an awesome recipe

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks for inviting me on your blog! It was a real pleasure to create that recipe, take pictures and write that article for this wonderful event. A real honor to be featured here... And that for the kind compliments! #blush#

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

SRA: Thanks! I'm glad you like it. :-)

Swati Sapna said...

A fantastic dish! absolutely love the idea of that cheesy eggplant puree... divine! love the pics and write up Rosa :)

Barbara said...

Delicious, Rosa!

marla said...

It certainly is a delight to see Rosa over here! Love the recipe and the partnership you both have found.

Al Dente Gourmet said...

Hi Susan! This is my first visit to your blog and I came here from Rosa’s beautiful site. I’m happy to find your lovely blog :)and this mouth-watering dish looks awesome!

Wonderful guest post Rosa!

Anh said...

Wonderful guest post! Rosa is among the first food bloggers that I knew :)

Simona said...

What a creative pair of dishes! And the photos are all beautiful. I particularly like the one with the borlotti: I think Mother Nature was in a particularly good mood when she created them.

SprinkleBakes said...

Rosa is such a talent. Love this post!

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

I love Rosa and her recipes, and this is no exception!

Cynthia said...

Rosa, I know that I have said this to you before on your personal blog - your amazing talent is very inspiring. Love your work.