Amazing recipe if you love Middle Eastern cooking like me. This dish is Iraqi (in my case, Iraqi-Israeli). It wouldn't surprise me if there was a Persian variant on this dish, because it combines stuffing vegetables with spiced ground meat, and simmering it deliciously in a tasty sauce. It can be served over any type of rice, and has a lot of juice/gravy that is just delicious. It is quite easy (though there are a few steps, none are difficult). This dish is kosher, but cannot be mixed with dairy products of course. It is a powerful and tasty dish, and I suggest that everyone try it. Warning - due to the appearance, I'm not sure how much little children (who are not Middle Eastern) would like it; though if they managed to try it, they would fall in LOVE. For the perfect compliment to this already amazingly rich dish, having hummus, tahina, and hot sauce (schug), and/or amba (an Iraqi pickled mango) - any middle eastern spread/dip. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all.
- 2 eggplants (large, the longer the better)
- 2 lbs ground meat (i prefer 1lb beef, 1lb lamb)
- 2 onions (1 medium finely minced, 1 larger diced)
- 2 -3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
- 1 egg
- 2 tomatoes (large, firm)
- 6 ounces tomato paste (can)
- 14 ounces beef (can) or 14 ounces chicken stock (can)
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
- turmeric (or curry powder)
- spices (any others you desire, I like CUMIN, CORIANDER, etc.)
- oil (canola, vegetable, or olive)
- peel the eggplant, trim off the top and bottom.
- stand eggplant up, and cut LENGTHWISE into 1/8'' thin strips.
- sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin.
- heat a very thin layer of oil on a skillet and fry the eggplant slices in batches, turning once to brown on both sides - do NOT overcook (they will cook to perfection at a later stage) - remember to add a fresh (thin) layer of oil for every batch of eggplant fried - let the eggplant slices try on paper towel.
- in a bowl: mix together the ground meats, the medium onion and garlic (both finely minced), spices to taste (don't overkill), and beaten egg.
- form the ground meat mixture into cylinders (sausage like rods) 1'' thick and 2'' long.
- place a portion of the meat stuffing at one enf othe eggplant slice, and WRAP the eggplant around it - place the rolls in a baking dish.
- Slice up one tomato, and layer on top of eggplant/meat rolls.
- In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and saute 1 large diced onion. When soft, add in 1 tomatoe (chopped), salt, pepper, tumeric/curry powder, and any other spices. Stir around until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste, beef/chicken stock, and lemon juice - this is your sauce - bring to boil, then cover and let simmer/thicken for 15 minutes.
- Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, pour it INTO the baking dish (it should cover all the rolls and reach near the top of the dish - this is good (more gravy/sauce for the rice, and ensures a nice even cooking of the meat).
- cover with lid (or aluminum foil), and BAKE at 450 degrees for 1 hour (or until done; one hour is certainly enough).
- take out and ENJOY an exotic taste that I am sure you will love; be proud of yourself, you made an authentic and wonderful Iraqi dish.