Twice baked eggplants (Karniyarik)
The Turkish word for this classic dish translates to ‘torn stomach’. We remove the skin in a zebra pattern (see photo), season and bake for 30 minutes at 375 0F. Check the plant for doneness on all sides, turn if necessary and leave in the oven until the eggplant has cooked through by 80%.
Take out the eggplant and let cool for 15 mins. It’s hard to work it when it’s hot.
Tear open the tummy with a knife and mesh some of the flesh with a fork – we’re making room for the stuffing. Stuff the eggplant generously with the beef stuffing.
The stuffing is fried ground beef (90%, 1.5 lbs) with diced red onions (one large), diced garlic (7-8 cloves), salt, pepper, pepper paste (two tbsp), two tbsp of ground cumin, two tbsp of Aleppo pepper, and fine chopped parsley (three tbsp). You can retain some of the juice from the beef to add to the tomato brine we’ll add to the baking pan. Fry until all the juices have been absorbed by the beef and evaporated.
The tomato brine consists of two tomatoes, a cup of beef broth, one tbsp of salt, and one to two cups of water. Blend until you create a uniform mixture.
Place the eggplants in pan, add the tomato brine to the pan until half to three quarters of the eggplant is submerged in the brine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake another 45 minutes. Rest overnight and serve over an Armenian pilaf (white rice cooked with butter, chicken stock, and salt and pepper).
This is a stew – for the flavors to fully develop, you want to eat it the next day.