Stuffed Eggplants (Karnıyarık)

Another "certified Turkish" recipe from my mom: karnıyarık which literally translates as "split belly." Karnıyarık is widely made and dearly loved almost in every part of Turkey. But by going over the ingredients and cooking method, I believe it's from southeastern and eastern Mediterranean regions of Turkey. I must warn you; this is not a light dish, but it is absolutely fantastic and if you haven't had karnıyarık before, it will change your ideas on eggplant dishes. Enough said to advertise eggplant.

There are a couple things to be careful about when you're cooking with eggplants. Buy eggplants right before you cook and pick the firmer ones; eggplants tend to get soft in the refrigerator. And for this dish, do not use huge American eggplants. Try to find cute little ones or Asian eggplants.

1 lb eggplant, peeled in stripes lengthwise
1/2 lb ground meat
2 onions, cubed
1/2 bunch parsley, finely choppped
1 tomato, petite diced (for the stuffing)
1 tomato, sliced in half moons (for the top)

green banana peppers, as many as eggplants
ground pepper
2 tbs olive oil
frying oil
1 cup hot water

-Peel eggplants leaving lengthwise stripes and then put them in salty water for 10 minutes. Dry them well and fry them as a whole in a deep pot with canola or corn or vegetable oil, whichever you're comfortable with. (Make sure oil is really hot before you place eggplants, otherwise eggplants will soak tons of oil)
-Once they're fried, first soak the excessive oil by resting them on a paper towel, and then place eggplants on an oven dish.
-In a deep frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and stir for 3-4 minutes.
-Add ground meat. Cook until ground meat soaks all the juice it lets out.
-Add diced tomato. Stir until cooked. Turn it off.
-Add chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
-With the help of two spoons, slit eggplants into two. But leave the tops and bottoms attached.
-Stuff eggplants with ground meat mixture.
-Place a slice of half moon shaped tomato and a green pepper on top of each split belly eggplant.
-Pour 1 cup of hot water on top and bake them in preheated oven at 400F until green peppers are nicely baked.

Serve with rice and yogurt.

Another eggplant recipe with parsley for Weekend Herb Blogging which was founded by Kalyn and is hosted this week by Katie of Thyme for Cooking.

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