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Turkey: Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb (Karniyarik)

Posted by Peggy on March 10, 2011

Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb (Karniyarik)
Recipe: Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb (Karniyarik)


  • 6 thin and long medium-sized eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 14 ounces ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint or parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish if desired
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, optional


  1. Trim the green leaf caps but leave the stem ends on the eggplants. Peel 1/2-inch wide strips off the skins lengthwise, leaving alternate 1/2-inch strips of peel. Fill a bowl large enough to accommodate eggplants 1/2 full with water; stir in 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Submerge eggplants, weighted down, in water to cover. Let soak 30 minutes, drain then dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. While eggplant are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan. Cook onion until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add lamb and cook until just browned, stirring and breaking up with a fork. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, cinnamon and allspice and simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in mint; season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. In another large sauté pan, heat remaining oil to medium high heat. In batches, fry eggplant until browned on peeled sides. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Place eggplants side by side in a single layer in a baking dish. With a sharp pointed knife, make a slit in each one (taking care not to slice through the eggplant), lengthwise, along one of the peeled strips until 1 inch from the stem end. Open the slits and,with a spoon, press against the flesh on the insides to make a hollow pocket.
  6. Divide filling into each eggplant. Pour tomato juice into the dish, cover with foil, and bake on middle rack of oven 25-40 minutes or until the eggplant are tender. Serve with tomato pan juices and garnish with pine nuts and mint sprigs, if using.

*I use fresh tomatoes only when they are in season; otherwise I use best quality canned.

Active Time: 45 minutes

Eggplant soak time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 25-40 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6 stuffed eggplant

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