A Turkish take on stuffed eggplants, this recipe features cinnamon, burghul and biber salcasi (pepper paste).
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 300 g minced beef or lamb
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp biber salcasi (see Note) (Turkish pepper paste)
- 100 g (½ cup) long-grain rice, rinsed
- 100 g (½ cup) coarse burghul (see Note), rinsed
- 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts, roasted
- 2 tbsp currants
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped mint
- ¼ cup finely chopped dill
- 6 x 300 g eggplants
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- Greek-style yoghurt (optional) and green olive salad, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2009 Stonier Pinot Noir ($28)
Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add mince, increase heat to medium–high and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes or until browned. Add cinnamon and pepper paste, and cook for a further 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add rice and burghul, and cook for 2 minutes to toast and coat grains. Add pine nuts, currants and 500 ml (2 cups) water, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until water has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl with ½ cup mint and 2 tbsp dill, and cool.
To prepare eggplants, using a vegetable peeler, peel 4 alternate strips from eggplant skins; this will ensure it remains taught when cooking. Remove stems, then scoop out flesh using a manakra or apple corer, leaving a 1 cm-thick shell. Season, then spoon in stuffing, tapping eggplants on a work surface and pressing down on stuffing with the back of a spoon. Place in a single layer in a large, wide, shallow pan. Spoon over tomatoes, add lemon juice and stock, and scatter with the remaining mint and dill. Season eggplants, cover with a cartouche, then cover with a lid. Place over low–medium heat and cook eggplants for 10 minutes each side or until tender. Turn off heat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer eggplants to a platter and spoon over the pan juices. Serve with yoghurt, if desired, and green olive salad.
• Biber salcasi, available from selected delis, is a thick, deep-red paste made from red peppers and salt.
• Coarse burghul, available from selected Middle Eastern food shops, has a larger grain than regular burghul. Each grain is about half the size of a rice grain.
Photography by Anson Smart.
As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.