Creamy Eggplant Puree (hunkar begendi)

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2 medium eggplants
2 tblsp. lemon juice
3 tblsp. butter or margarine
1 1/2 tblsp. flour
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. to 3/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tblsp. chopped parsley (optional)

Scorch the eggplant under the broiler until the skin blisters and turns black and the eggplant is soft. (Or, spear the eggplant with a fork and turn over a flame until the skin is blackened. Or bake in the oven until it is soft. The first method adds a nice charred taste...the last is easiest!)

Rub off the blackened skin, cut the eggplant in half, and scoop out and discard the seeds.

Heat the butter or margarine in a saucepan, add the flour, and cook gently while stirring until the butter bubbles. When it is light golden, add milk gradually to make a white sauce. Stir until the mixture is smooth and has thickened, then add the cheese.

Squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the eggplant and shop it fine. Add it to the white sauce, and mash with a fork while stirring.

Continue cooking and mashing for 10 minutes, until the puree is smooth and hot. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Source: Paul