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"Turkish" Eggplant Stacks

There is a Turkish dish called Karniyarik, of beef, tomato and eggplant, that I planned on making for dinner tonight, but somehow I went off-piste and ended up with something substantially different of my own invention inspired by it. It still feels as though the recipe is firmly in the Turkish cuisine firmament (due to the spices that I used and the tangy yogurt), hence the name of the dish.

1/3 large eggplant, about 3 half inch slices

3 half inch slices of beef steak tomato

1/4 lb ground beef

1/4 cup bulgur wheat

2 Tbsps Greek yogurt

2 Tbsps chopped mint

2 Tbsps Italian parsley

1 garlic clove

Juice from half a lemon

1 tsp sumac

2 tbsps strained tomatoes or 1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425.

While the oven heats up, make your sauce by measuring the yogurt into a bowl along with the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of each of the herbs and grating half of the garlic clove into the bowl. Stir well to combine and set aside to thicken.

Measure your bulgur wheat into a small bowl along with a pinch of salt. Cover with just enough boiling water to submerge the bulgur wheat. Set aside.

Chop your herbs and the remaining half of the garlic clove. Set aside.

Slice your eggplant and your tomato. Place on a lined baking tray. Brush with two teaspoons of the olive oil and salt. By now, the oven should be preheated so place the eggplant in the oven and set your timer for fifteen minutes, while you go and do something else.

When your fifteen minutes are up, open the oven and flip the eggplant slices over. Don't bother to turn the tomato slices over as they will fall apart. Set your timer so that the eggplant and tomato slices bake for an additional five minutes.

While the eggplant and tomato finish cooking. heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a pan. As soon as it shimmers, add the garlic and the beef and cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Stir it often so that no clumps of meat remain.

Add the bulgur wheat, the strained tomatoes, the remaining herbs, the sumac, and salt to taste, Stir to combine well. Lower the heat and allow to cook until the eggplant is ready.

To plate, place a slice of eggplant on your dinner plate, topped with a slice of the tomato and a third of the meat-bulgur wheat mixture. Repeat until you have used up all of the eggplant and tomato slices and finish with some of the meat.

Dollop the top generously with the yogurt-herb mixture.

This is a twenty one minute and eleven second to the table meal of which fifteen minutes are hands off.


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