TURKISH BAKED EGGPLANT FILLED WITH GROUND BEEF

Every Turkish household loves to prepare this karnıyarık or fried eggplant stuffed with sautéed browned beef, onions, garlic and tomatoes and baked until crusty. For better results, choose young eggplant; soak it with salted water, drain and fry.

Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • pounds Japanese eggplant or oblong eggplant
  • cups vegetable oil for frying 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • crushed onions

3 green bell peppers

7 ripe tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

½ teaspoon black pepper 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 2 teaspoons salt

2 finely chopped cloves garlic

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

Create a stripe pattern when preparing the eggplant by peeling into alternate stripe from end to end using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler.

Soak the eggplants in salted water and leave it there while preparing the other ingredients.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions until tender and shrunk. Sauté the ground beef until browned.

Peel with a sharp paring knife 5 pieces of tomatoes; dice into cubes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir until soft. Drain excess tomato juice if using canned and diced tomatoes before adding to the meat.

Add the garlic and spices to the mixture, and stir frequently. Stir in chopped parsley and continue stirring for three minutes. Turn off heat and let the mixture stand for a few minutes.

Remove the eggplants from the soaking liquid, drain and blot dry with paper towels.

Heat in another pan the vegetable oil. Fry the whole eggplants and turn the other side to cook evenly. When softened, remove the eggplants from oil and drain on paper towels.

Neatly line up the eggplants in an oven-proof baking dish side by side.

With a paring knife, gently open up each eggplant by cutting a slit from end to end. Fill each fried eggplant with equal amount of meat mixture.

Slice the remaining two tomatoes thinly and into halve. Place the tomatoes slices on top of meat filling. Repeat the same procedure for the peppers.

In a small bowl, stir the tomato paste in water and pour into the dish.

Cook the eggplant for half an hour at 375 degrees F. Remove dish from oven and let stand for a few minutes.

Serve!

Nutritional Information: 593 calorie; 49 g fat (6 g saturated fat); 50 mg

cholesterol; 458 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 7 g dietary fiber; 20 g protein.

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