Khoresht-e Bademjan (Eggplant Stew)

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. stew meat
1 large onion, chopped fine
5 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 large eggplants
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 can tomato paste (2 heaping tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
salt, black pepper
1/4 cup shortening

Saute the meat, turmeric, black pepper and onions in 1/8 cup shortening until nicely browned.  Add approximately 3 cups of boiling water, the tomato paste, tomatoes, lemon juice, and cinnamon and let simmer on a low fire for about an hour or until the meat is tender.

While the meat is cooking, peel the eggplants and cut into 1/2″ thick lengthwise slices.  Fry each side until golden-brown. Fifteen minutes before serving, salt to taste and place the eggplants in the pot.  Be careful to keep the eggplant whole. Serve with plain rice.

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