My all time favourite; Meat Stuffed Eggplants – Karnıyarık. I cannot say it is quick and easy to prepare but it is definitely very delicious main dish. Lovely blend of eggplants and meat, a must try. If you want an eggplant stuffed with vegetables check the recipe for Imambayildi recipe.
Try to find eggplants that are shiny, smooth, similar sizes, not fat, not too long. If you buy too fat ones, they tend to have black seeds, and these are not tasty. If you find ones that are not shiny and smooth it is a sign that they are not too fresh. If you find long ones, cut into half.
Wash and peel in vertical stripes to look like pjyamas. Don’t peel completely as then it will soak up too much oil. Cut off the stem. Make also one deep vertical cut, this cut will be used to make a hole in each eggplant to be stuffed by the meat filling.
Prepare a bowl of water and dissolve a teaspoon of salt in it. Add the eggplants and make sure they are soaked up, if necessary put something- a pot, another bowl of water – on top to make sure every part of the eggplants is covered by water. Keep in the water minimum 15 minutes. Rinse and then dry with paper towels.
For the stuffing you will need tomato, onion, garlic, parsley and meat. Details are in the recipe below. Using the deep cut made on each eggplant use a spoon to open a hole in each eggplant to make them look like a boat and get them ready for stuffing.
You can either cook on the stove or in the oven. If I will not use the oven for another dish, I generally go with the stove option. As the eggplants and the stuffing is already cooked, cooking for another 15-20 minutes will be enough for both methods. Test readiness by pocking the end parts of an eggplant with a fork. If the fork goes in easily it is a sign that the dish is ready.
Using a knife cut off the stems of the eggplants. Peel the eggplants vertically in stripes to look like striped pyjamas.
If the eggplants are small sized use as whole, if long cut horizontally into half.
Also make one deeper cut vertically all the way except both ends on each eggplant. But make sure you do not cut the eggplants into half.
Soak the eggplants in salty water. 1 table spoon salt will be enough. Keep eggplants in this water for at least 20 minutes to get rid of the sourness and the black color of eggplants. When time is up, take them out, rinse and dry well with a paper towel.
Use a large skillet. Heat the olive oil slightly. Fry the eggplants over high heat for about 5 minutes. Turn them once in a while so they are brownish on all sides. When ready remove from the pan and set aside.
Fry also 3 long green peppers. Before frying make several holes in the peppers so they don't pop.
Using the same skillet add about 4 table spoons/50 milliliters of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saute until pinkish over medium hight.
Add the crushed garlic and saute for another minute.
Cut off the stems and take out the seeds of the peppers. Chop to small pieces. Add to the onions. Saute for another minute.
Add the minced beef. Saute occasionally until the meat first leaves out and then absorbs back its water.
Then add small chopped tomato and the chopped parsley.
Season with salt and ground black pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Set aside.
Final Touch and Cooking
Place the eggplants on the skillet or a baking tray with the cut side up. Gently open each belly with the back of a spoon to look like little boats. Then fill the boats with the meat mixture. Then cover each one with a slice of tomato.
In a separate bowl mix a tablespoon of tomato paste and grated half tomato and 150 milliliter water and salt. Pour slowly around the eggplants.
Cook either on stove at medium heat or in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Serve warm and garnish with the remaining chopped parsley.