Persian Stuffed Eggplant
Created by Kari Ray
Iran is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I’ve been honored to cook with and learn from a few of these people. While doing so I experienced an impressive variety of culinary delights. These stuffed eggplants are no exception. Full of comforting and aromatic spices, they make for a satisfying healthy meal, reminiscent of what you would find in the warm inviting homes of Iran.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil; plus more for drizzle
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- ½ pound ground lamb
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large Eggplant
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Cut each eggplant in half and score the inner flesh several times. Drizzle olive oil over the scored flesh and place on a baking sheet flesh side down. Bake them in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on the size, until the eggplants are soft and tender.
- In a skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and pine nuts and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add in the ground lamb and beef, breaking the meat up into a fine crumble; cook until no longer pink.
- Stir in the lemon zest, turmeric, paprika, cumin, pepper and salt and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- When the eggplants are done, allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon scoop out the seedy flesh from each of the eggplants. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and fill with the ground meat mixture.
- Once they are stuffed, return them to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce by whisking together the tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic and water.
- When done, remove the eggplant from the oven, drizzle them with the tahini sauce and sprinkle with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve hot.