I learned it as patlican kebap, (eggplant kebab) from my lovely little mother-in-law.
You will need:
1/2 kilo or 1 pound of ground beef
3 small Eggplant(the long skinny type work the best as you will see why from the pictures below)
3 large tomatoes
1 small head of garlic (or large...I heart garlic)
salt and pepper
good olive oil
Heat the oven to 350 F or 175 C
I used a pyrex pan 5x7 inch or 13x18 cm pan
Cook for approximately one hour.
Salt and pepper the ground beef to your liking and knead it in.
One thing I respect about the butcher's here is that you can't really find pre-ground beef. It is always ground in front of you as you specify the amount you would like. It took me a while to get used to lamb carcasses hanging from the butcher's windows but I have come to respect, and/or hope for a level of freshness because of. You have to find your butcher though. I am yet to be very impressed with a big fat med rare filet mignon steak here. In Turkey the beef mainly is well done unless in a touristy area...
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1 inch pieces. You can salt, wait, rinse and dry if you think the eggplant might have any bitterness to it.
Peel then dice the tomatoes.
My mother-in-law says this is very important to peel as the skins can give a bitterness. Also we seem to peel everything these days for fear of pesticides.
Peel and chop the whole head of garlic.
I find the skins very pretty, like a sheer fabric with the subtle pink hue towards the root.
Have a watermelon in the fridge chilling for dessert.
Give your pan a healthy dose of olive oil. Then start piling in your ingredients as follows...
As you can see alternate meatballs and eggplants around the outer edge of the pan. I like how the shape of this type of eggplant dictates the shape of the meatball.
Fill the inside with your tomatoes and garlic, adding another tablespoon or two of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Then you are simply ready to stick it in the oven to blend and soften and become quite yummy for your tummy. One pan dinner for your family!
Serve this dish with lots of bread for dipping in that wonderful center sauce and
greek-style Turkish style thick savory plain yogurt. Rice pilaf is a good add too. Again to absorb that sauce!
I have loved this dish every time my MIL made it but my husband would point out that the meat would dry out. She makes it is her big oven broiler pan so the tomatoes would cook down and leave the meat to dry out on those edges
I made it in this smaller deeper pan so the lovely tomato garlic sauce keeps the meat nice and moist, then you can use lower fat beef also. They size of your pan can really dictate your ingredient amounts.
It turned out really great. "eliniz sağlık"(health to your hands) from my husband and baby girl ate lots of meatballs.
Would love to hear from you if you make it... Did you change anything? How did it go?
Do you have tomatoes and eggplants bursting from you garden?