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Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant (aubergine) slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices.

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

How wonderful it is to be able to post recipes again; my laptop was broken and I couldn’t post for quite a while, sincere apologies for that. So lovely to share food and recipes again!

This is a very special dish that I make when I have a little extra time; it is very delicious and looks lovely, so it’s worth every effort. You can bake ahead of time and the leftovers can be frozen successfully. The succulent slices of eggplant around the meatballs are just heavenly. Served with plain rice and cucumber&yoghurt; dip, it makes a very special dinner to share.

Patlican, (eggplant or aubergine) is our national vegetable – it is actually fruit, as it has seeds- and one can argue we Turks have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant! They have high water content (and very low in fat), so the trick is to generously salt the eggplant slices and drain all the bitter juices before cooking, otherwise the eggplant gets soggy.

I hope you give this special dish a try sometime and could share with family and friends.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 50 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

For the meatballs:
450gr/1lb lean ground beef, lamb or mixture
1 medium onion, grated
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 medium eggs
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5ml/1teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3-4 medium eggplants
1 medium potato, skinned and sliced
Green or red pointy (or bell) peppers, coarsely sliced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
5m/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
8fl oz/1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

Sunflower or canola oil for shallow frying of eggplants

In order to make the meatballs, combine all the items in a large bowl and knead with your hands until all combined well. Grease a baking tray with a little olive oil (or sunflower oil). Take a walnut size of the meatball mixture and roll like an oval shape, carry on with making the meatballs until all the mixture is finished, and place them on the greased tray. Bake the meatballs for about 15-20 minutes, until they are partially cooked and firm enough to be wrapped with the eggplant slices.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the canola oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

On a board, put an eggplant slice and place one meatball the middle and roll like a cigar. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant&meatball; roll seamide down, in a baking tray.

Place the sliced potatoes, onions and peppers amongst the eggplant rolls in the tray. Add the canned tomatoes and water, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Bake the dish in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Please check towards the end if more water is needed and add some to the baking tray.

Serve the eggplant &meatball; rolls and the vegetables hot with plain rice by the side. Cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik, under Mezes and Appetizers in this blog) meze also would complement this delicious dish well.

Afiyet Olsun!

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