Aubergine, aubergine, aubergine, it’s a much loved vegetable isn’t it? Wherever you go in Turkey, you will find different versions of this dish. Though traditionally made with ground lamb, you can prepare it with ground beef or have a vegetarian version too, mushrooms or lentils work very well. You can cook this dish ahead of time and gently reheat in the oven or enjoy it cold in the summer, deeeelish!
3 medium-large aubergines, semi-peeled
300g of lamb mince
A small handful of spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
200ml of fresh water
A small handful of chopped parsley plus extra parsley leaves for garnishing
3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil plus extra for garnishing
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1 teaspoon of Aleppo chilli flakes @steenbergsltd
1 teaspoon of baharat @steenbergsltd
A generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper @steenbergsltd
Extra cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnishing
Fresh cucumber salad and walnut halves
Fresh edible flowers
- Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F and slice the aubergines in half lengthways leaving the stalk intact. In each half of your aubergine, cut a deep split lengthways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side and leaving about 2cm uncut at either end. Sprinkle sea salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes.
- In a saucepan, sauté the spring onions with a little olive oil until softened. Add your lamb mince and cook until all the moisture is absorbed. Now add your garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and Aleppo chilli flakes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and your baharat and mix well. Continue cooking for a further couple of minutes until the mixture is reduced and thickened. Set aside.
- Blot your aubergines with kitchen towel thoroughly. Now, lightly brown them evenly on both sides in olive oil over a medium high heat. With the split sides facing up, place them into a generously oiled ovenproof dish (like a pyrex) or a baking tray. Spoon the lamb mince filling into the splits.
- On the top of each filled aubergine places your sliced cherry tomatoes, face down. Now mix the water with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour this mixture on the baking tray. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until they are tender and the eggplants are nicely browned on top. Garnish with extra parsley and olive oil and enjoy warm.