Aubergine baked with meat actually refers to a traditional Turkish delight called karniyarik, although this particular recipe differs somewhat from the original. The main difference between this and conventional karniyarik is that the present recipe uses very little oil in its preparation, without sacrificing any of the flavors, and it is not fried as traditional karniyarik is.
This very tasty Turkish dish was created to please a Sultan from the days of the Ottoman Empire and has been pleasing Turkish people, and those who have learned of it outside Turkey, ever since that time. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is extremely flavorsome, has a very low-calorie count, and is extremely easy to prepare.
Recipe Variant on Traditional Karniyarik
Most people know the aubergine as eggplant, and the method of preparation for these eggplants is very common to a great number of dishes in the Turkish diet. For this particular recipe, the eggplants are peeled in alternating stripes, which means some skin has been left on. While it’s not necessary to completely peel the eggplants, you should definitely at least peel them in this alternating configuration, so that the skins don’t have a chance to become very tough and difficult to chew.
Since aubergines or eggplants come in many different sizes, it’s more or less up to your preference which size you use during preparations. For the purposes of this recipe, you should use medium-sized aubergines, because they work well with the other ingredients, and because they are quite filling for all your dinner guests.
In addition, the alternating style of peeling the aubergines gives them a very attractive appearance with a slightly artistic touch. You should avoid selecting aubergines which are too plump because they will end up being portions that are too large for your guests after they’ve been stuffed with the meat mixture.
It’s also a good idea to cut off the stems of your aubergines so that your dinner guests won’t have to do that while they’re in the process of eating them.
Ingredients Needed for Aubergine Baked with Meat
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 3 green peppers which can be either sweet or spicy
- 3 tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon of pepper paste which is either spicy or non-spicy, according to your taste
- 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 kg of medium-sized, straight aubergines
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-1/2 large onions which have been finely chopped
- 1/2 kg of minced beef
Preheat your oven to 350°F, and while you’re waiting for it to warm up, you can peel your aubergines in alternating stripes, either with a good sharp knife or a peeler. Cut the stems off your aubergines very gently, so that you don’t disturb the rest of the skin.
Place each of the aubergines on a baking tray, and bake them for between 45 minutes and one hour, making sure to rotate them every 10 to 15 minutes, until you see that the exteriors are somewhat wrinkled, and have a pale golden color. It’s best if your aubergines are turned either three or four times while they’re cooking, so that all sides are exposed and so that the entire vegetable cooks evenly.
Also while your aubergines are baking, that’s the best time to get your meat mixture started, so it can be ready when the aubergines come out of the oven and have had a chance to cool off somewhat.
Fry your onion in oil for about five minutes, before adding the minced beef and mixing. Add two tablespoons of water, followed by all the spices and the salt. Cook this whole mixture for a while until almost all the water has completely evaporated, which should take approximately 15 minutes.
Next, you can remove the aubergines from the ovens and let them cool off on the counter. Slice the cooled aubergines down the middle, taking care to avoid cutting through the entire vegetable. Also, be sure to leave at least an inch on either end which has not been cut.
Gently expand the split of each aubergine using a tablespoon and working it open a little bit at a time. When you’re working the aubergines with a spoon, you should take the rounded bottom side of the spoon, and put it inside the aubergine in a kind of a stretching motion on both sides, throughout the entire length of the aubergine. This should leave it in a state where it can adequately serve as a vessel for the meat mixture which you will be filling it with.
Now you can place the aubergines back on the baking tray, and use your mixture of meat to fill up each individual aubergine so that it’s full, without over-stuffing. Place wedges of green pepper and tomato on top of each one, and then pour 3/4 of a cup of water in your baking tray around the aubergines.
Bake them at 360° for 40 minutes, until the peppers and tomatoes on top of the aubergines look well-cooked, and so there is only a little water at the bottom of the tray. For a final touch, sprinkle parsley on top of each baked aubergine, and serve to your extremely delighted dinner guests.