Patlıcan Karnıyarık (Eggplant stuffed with meat and herbs)

Turkish food has not been good for our figures.

Turkish food has not been good for our figures.

Hi friends, long time no speak. Sorry about that, but Karin and I have been a bit in flux. Many changes have happened since the last post was written in our kitchen in Austin. We packed up our house, loaded it into moving containers, and I am now writing this post from the living room of our new house in Mountain View, CA. In between the two houses, we took a two-week long trip to Turkey, drove halfway across the country, (stopping to see family in several places) and unpacked an obscene number of boxes. Including, finally, the cookbooks a couple of weeks ago.

The Sultan's Kitchen

The trip to Turkey, and an attempt to recreate some of the amazing food we had while we were there, were the main inspiration for this week’s recipe. I really like this cookbook – there’s not a lot outside of some well-designed recipes and a handful of decent photographs of the food. It’s a low-bullshit cookbook, and it covers a wide range of the different dishes of Turkey (the parchment-wrapped sea bass poached with herbs and rakı has been on my to-make list for awhile now, and the recipe for Turkish tea is the best one I’ve found to date). We bought some nice-looking globe eggplants at the Farmer’s Market last week,so I thought I’d give this recipe a shot.

Eggplant with Meat and Herbs

Turns out small globe eggplants are not the right kind for stuffing, so what I ended up with was essentially some eggplants braised in a nice Turkish meat sauce. Surely not what Özcan Ozan intended, but it was tasty nonetheless. Enjoy the recipe below – it’s good to get back to our cookbooks!

Patlıcan Karnıyarık (Eggplant stuffed with meat and herbs)

Serves 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • 6 small (6-7 inch long) Italian eggplants
  • 1/2 cup light olive or vegetable oil
  • 6 small Italian green peppers
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, grated (3/4 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 medium tomatoes – 2 peeled and chopped, 2 cut into quarters
  • 1 lb ground lean lamb or beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel the eggplants lengthwise, peeling around the stems and leaving them intact. Make a deep incision along the length of each eggplant, making sure not to cut all the way through it or to the ends. Place the eggplants in a large bowl of generously salted water and set them aside for 20 minutes.

2. To make the meat-and-herb stuffing, melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes, or until they’re softened but not brown. Add the tomato paste and the 2 chopped tomatoes, and continue cooking, stirring for 1 minute. Add the meat, parsley, dill and water. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, then cover the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Set the stuffing aside.

3. Rinse and drain the eggplants, then gently squeeze out the excess water. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over high heat and fry the eggplants until they’re lightly brown all over, about 2 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the skillet and let them drain on paper towels. Add the green peppers to the skillet and fry them gently for about 2 minutes, until they are wilted.

5. To assemble, lay the eggplants side by side, cut side up, in a baking dish. Season with salt. Stuff them with the meat mixture and lay the green pepper on top. Arrange the 2 quartered tomatoes on top, next to the peppers. Pour the remaining cooking liquid from the stuffing over the eggplants.

6. Cover with parchment paper and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Serve warm with the pan juices spooned on top.

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