MasterChef’s Hannah from Suffolk brings us a lockdown-friendly Turkish dish

PUBLISHED: 19:30 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:42 15 May 2020

A screenshot of Hannah Gregory taking part in MasterChef.

A screenshot of Hannah Gregory taking part in MasterChef.


Many of us will be able to remember a cheap holiday when we really had to seek out great food.

Music festival producer Hannah Gergory made it to the last 16 on BBC's MasterChef and has another recipe for our readers Picture: GEORGE DAVIESMusic festival producer Hannah Gergory made it to the last 16 on BBC's MasterChef and has another recipe for our readers Picture: GEORGE DAVIES

Hannah Gregory, who recently competed in BBC’s MasterChef, finishing up in the final 16, brings us a recipe with flavours of Turkey – the location of a budget holiday she had as a student.

MORE: ‘I am so unbelievably proud of what I accomplished’ - Hannah exits MasterChef

Quarter-finalist Hannah, a music festival producer from Bury St Edmunds, reveals how to make lockdown-friendly Hunkar Begendi, a traditional Turkish dish of smoked aubergine puree normally topped with a lamb stew.

Here, she shares her own take on Hunkar Begendi, or as she calls it at home ‘Hunky B’, swapping the lamb for ox cheeks, which she says are “so delicious and cheap and pretty easy to come by nowadays”.

Alternatively, you could use diced lamb shoulder or stewing steak.

Hunky B (Hunkar Begendi) plated up Picture: HANNAH GREGORYHunky B (Hunkar Begendi) plated up Picture: HANNAH GREGORY

Remembering her trip to Turkey with friends, she said by the end of the week they were desperate for some authentic Turkish food.

“We knew we had struck gold when we found a small restaurant on the outskirts of town and saw the queue of stray cats outside,” she said.

“We sat down and asked for whatever they recommended and that was the night we all fell in love with Hunky B.

“Even now, ten years later, my girlfriends always ask me to cook it when we meet up and it takes us straight back to that hilarious, awful yet wonderful holiday.”

Hunky B cooking Picture: HANNAH GREGORYHunky B cooking Picture: HANNAH GREGORY

Hannah hosts WanderSups supper clubs when not in lockdown.

MORE: Wondering what to cook during lockdown? Here’s a recipe from MasterChef quarterfinalist Hannah from Suffolk

The recipe – in Hannah’s words

Serves 4

Spotify Playlist - Sups

Hannah Gregory on holiday with friends in Turkey where she discovered Hunkar Begendi Picture: CONTRIBUTEDHannah Gregory on holiday with friends in Turkey where she discovered Hunkar Begendi Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Tipple of Choice - A full bodied red. Or if you want to go all in, a glass of Raki

What you need:

2 ox cheeks or 500g diced lamb shoulder or stewing beef

150g plain flour (100g for seasoning the meat, 50g for your roux)

300ml milk

50g of grated hard cheese (I use parmesan but if you are able to find a traditional hard Turkish cheese then you’ve won)

4 large aubergines

50g butter

500ml of good quality beef stock

250ml port

1tbsp beef dripping

1 onion

1 large carrot

You may also want to watch:

1 stick of celery

1 clove of garlic

2 tbsp tomato puree

Dash of brandy

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Sprinkling of fresh thyme

1 anchovy fillet (don’t worry if you don’t have one - not worth buying a whole jar)

1 bay leaf

Fresh parsley (to garnish)

How you do it:

•This dish is about the long game and it is so worth it. Preheat oven to 150C.

•Trim off any excess fat from the cheeks (if using) then dice and toss the meat in the seasoned flour.

•Melt the beef dripping in a frying pan and brown the meat all over. Remove the meat from the pan and put to the side.

•Finely dice your carrot and onion and slice your celery and garlic. Throw it into the frying and cook until soft and lightly caramelised.

•Increase the heat and put your meat back in along with the tomato puree, give it a stir to make sure everything is coated and cook for a couple of minutes.

•Deglaze the pan with the brandy making sure you scrape the bottom to get all the tasty bits off. Then add in your port, stock, herbs and anchovies and bring to the boil.

•Cover pan with a lid and put into the oven for 2 hours. After the time is up, check the meat - it should be tender and beginning to fall apart. Once you have hit the sweet spot, turn the oven off but leave the pan in there for a further 30 minutes to let the flavours infuse.

MORE: MasterChef’s Hannah from Suffolk has a Greek recipe to take you back to your hols

•Aubergine puree: you can cook this in advance and reheat it when it’s time to serve or, if bringing it all together at the same time, begin you puree once the meat has been in the oven for 90 minutes.

•First off you want to get your aubergines super charred and smokey. I do this by placing a metal cooling rack over a gas hob and laying the aubergines on top. Keep an eye on them and keep turning them. You are looking for them to blister and then sort of deflate as the flesh inside becomes really soft. Don’t be scared of the skin charring, it just adds to the flavour. If you don’t have a gas hob then place them on a baking tray in a hot oven for around 20-30 minutes. It will work just the same but you won’t get that smokey flavour that is synonymous with the dish.

•Once your aubergines are done slice them open lengthways scooping out all the flesh into a ball. If you get flecks of burnt skin in there, don’t stress, it just adds to the flavour.

•In a saucepan melt the butter and then slowly beat in your flour and allow it to cook out for around 2 minutes.

•Whisk in the milk gradually until smooth.

•After all the milk is incorporated stir in your aubergine and cook for around 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

•Finally stir in your grated cheese and allow to melt.

•Check the seasoning and, if you are like me, add in another 50g of cheese because, let’s face it, you can never have enough cheese.

•Serve the stew on a bed of aubergine puree and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

•To find out more about WanderSups supper clubs, where the food is inspired by journeys around the world, and what Hannah is currently cooking look for @WanderSups on Instagram. We will be sharing another of Hannah’s recipes next week.

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