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  • Split Eggplant Filled With Minced Meat

    While imambayıldı (eggplants with onion and tomato filling) is the favorite among the olive oil dishes, karnıyarık (split eggplant filled with minced meat) is the most popular among the minced meat dishes. It not only looks appealing but also tastes delicious. This dish can be made without pre-frying the eggplants, however, the flavor of the eggplants will not be fully appreciated and it definitely will not have the same taste. The technique of cooking the food in two stages is used for many Turkish dishes and this enhances the flavors of the dish. In fact, the flavors become even more concentrated when baked in the oven. Stuffed eggplant is best served accompanied by rice pilaf cooked in butter and cacık(yogurt and cucumber dip).

    Serves 6
    • 6 long eggplants
    • 40 g salt (to eliminate the bitterness of the eggplants)
    • 500 ml olive oil (for frying the eggplants)

    For the meat filling 

    • 30 g butter or clarified butter
    • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
    • 250 g regular minced veal
    • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 400 ml water, boiling
    • ½ bunch parsley, chopped

    To garnish 

    • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 6 pieces
    • 3 sweet long green peppers, cut lengthwise in half
    1. Leaving 2 cm of the stems of the eggplants, cut off the remaining part and discard. Remove the rough leaves and peel the cone-shaped base. Then cut off 1 cm from the bottom of the eggplants. Leaving 2 cm of skin on both sides of the eggplants, carefully remove the remaining skin with a knife and slit the eggplants lengthwise down the middle.
    2. Place the eggplants in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave for 1 hour. Then rinse with water and transfer to a plate.
    3. Fry the eggplants on all sides for about 5-6 minutes in olive oil until golden. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel for 30 minutes to absorb any excess oil.
    4. Sauté the onions in butter for 4-5 minutes in a small pant, then add the minced veal and sauté for another 4-5 minutes.
    5. Add the tomatoes, salt and black pepper and sauté for another 1-2 minutes before adding the water. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, then add the parsley and stir.
    6. Place the eggplants in a wide saucepan. Then using the back of a spoon, open up the slit of the eggplant and stuff with the meat filling. Top each eggplant with a slice of tomato and a piece of green pepper.
    7. Pour the meat’s juices over the eggplants. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes and serve.
    Chef's Note

    After cooking on the stove the karnıyarık can be baked in a 200 ℃ preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes to further enhance the flavors. To add flavor using the old method, add 1 tablespoon roasted pine nuts and 1 teaspoon of currants.