Stuffed Aubergines (Eggplants) with Garlicky Beef Mince
This stuffed aubergine recipe is from Iran’s Azarbaijan province where the dish is called garni yarikh. In other parts of the country it is called shekam pareh. Both words mean “torn belly” but obviously not the belly of the lucky eater!
I like to have these with a side of plain rice or warmed flatbread and a crispy, crunchy green salad with a lemony dressing like my Herby, Garlicky, Lemony Romaine Lettuce Salad.
The original recipe calls for frying the aubergines but I love the texture of baked aubergines. Baked garlic tastes milder too so I prefer to bake the garlic as well. So here is a picture of my aubergines and garlic ready to go into the oven.
I live in the UK where we are blessed with a lot of ethnic groceries in most places. I find loads of great veg and herbs in ethnic groceries. I found my cute little aubergines in an Asian grocery. They were about only 5 inches (12cm) long and very very fresh and shiny. If you can’t find these tiny ones go for the smallest regular aubergines that you can find.
After baking the aubergines and garlic heads for about 30 minutes and pulling the sides of the slits I had made in the aubergines they looked like this:
I highly recommend baking more aubergines and garlic than you would need for the recipe while you are at it. The pulp from the aubergines freezes well and can be used in so many salads and dips such as my Black Garlic, Roasted Aubergine & Tomato Persian-Style Dip. You can put the baked cloves of garlic in a jar, cover with olive oil and keep in the fridge for later use too.
I like using smoked sea salt in this dish. It imparts a little smokey flavour that I love but you can use regular sea salt or regular salt instead if you’re not a big fan of smokey flavours. Just make sure you use less regular salt as sea salt weighs much less (a tablespoon of regular salt weighs almost twice as sea salt).
So these are the ingredients that you will need to make four stuffed aubergines:
- 4 tbsp olive oil (or more if you wish)
- 4 small aubergines
- 200g lean beef mince
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 30g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 4 big cloves of garlic or more, unpeeled
- 1 tsp smoked or plain sea salt or 1/2 tsp regular salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp mild curry powder
- 6 tbsp tomato puree
- 6 tomatoes, chopped
- 30g butter
- 150ml boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and line a baking dish with aluminium foil.
- Make a 3 cm deep incision lengthways in each aubergine to allow opening a pocket in them for filling when they are baked. Rub the aubergines and garlic cloves (or head if you are using more) with olive oil. Cover very loosely with foil. Bake for half an hour or until the aubergines are really soft. This may take longer or shorter depending on the size of your aubergines so keep an eye on them.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick coated frying pan with a lid (you will need it later) on medium heat and lightly brown the onions. Add the mince, spices and salt and brown the mince.
- Peel the garlic cloves and mash well. Add to the mince with the tomato puree and half of the chopped tomatoes. Stir well and cover with the lid. Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Gently pull the sides of the slit in each baked aubergine apart to create a pocket for the filling two-thirds of the way down. Fill each aubergine with one-fifth of the mince mixture.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan and sauté the rest of the chopped tomatoes for five minutes or until they break down. Add the boiling water and the remaining filling and mix. Correct the seasoning.
- Arrange the aubergines in the sauce. Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by one third. The aubergines must be really soft. Gently lift the aubergines with two large spatulas to a serving dish, pour the sauce over and serve immediately.