Like I mentioned before, my Kaynana lived with us for a while and cooked for us very often. Another regular on her repertoire was this Eggplant dish, that I ended up loving, although I thought I didn’t even like eggplant. This recipe is based on one from Bade Jackson’s Turkish Cooking cookbook and our own memories of how we’ve seen it prepared.
3 small eggplants (will be cut in half to make 6 “boats”)
olive oil (to fry the eggplant)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. ground beef (you can use lamb, too)
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsely
1 tsp. tomato paste ( I used 1 Tbsp.)
salt and black pepper
1 tomato, sliced
First, cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and peel the outer skin into strips.
Scoop out a small amount of the insides- do not break through the skin or leave edges too thin.
You will have 6 hollowed out boats.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet (I used cast iron- I do not recommend it though- see below) and fry until all sides are lightly browned and softened. Place them hollow sides up in a roasting dish (preferably not glass)
Preheat oven to 375 . Meanwhile, toss the butter in a frying pan and cook up the beef or lamp with the onion and parsley and tomato paste.
Spoon the cooked meat mixture evenly into the eggplant boats and place a tomato slice on each. Pour 1 1/4 c. water in the bottom of the dish, cover with tinfoil and bake 30 minutes. Let it go longer if the eggplant is too rubbery.
We served this with a rice pilaf (recipe still to follow)
Seeing as our basis of comparison was a tough act to follow, Aziz gave this 8 out of 10 stars. He said that the filling was great (although I had forgotten to put the onion and fresh parsley) but that the eggplant was not cooked enough. This being said, we figure that the cast iron skillet I used was either not hot enough to brown the eggplant evenly (my mother-in-law usually used a stainless steel frying pan that I will use next time) or that the glass Pyrex baking dish I used was an issue. Also, the recipe did not call for the dish to be covered, so we think that this may have also affected the tenderness.
I do know that I will be looking for a different recipe for this (hopefully straight from said Kaynana), since it did not live up to our, albeit high, expectations. I will post when I find an alternative. Despite our dissatisfaction with some parts of the dish, we still enjoyed it and I think that people will find it a nice variation to Spaghetti night 🙂
*** You can find this cookbook on http://www.betterworldbooks.com.
Jackson, Bade.”Karniyarik/Stuffed Eggplant.” Turkish Cooking: Authentic Culinary Traditions from Turkey. Ed. Rosie Hankin. New Jersey: Chartwell, 1998. 53. Print.