Middle Eastern Eggplant with Ground Turkey (Patlican Oturtma)
Growing up, my grandma would cook for our holidays, and always, we could expect the same dishes at each. Thanksgiving…Passover…Irrelevant. It was all about the rice, soups, and stews (throw in a turkey for Thanksgiving, my least favorite part about that day). One of my favorites was this very sweet eggplant tomato dish that she would bake for a long time. Ugh..Masterpiece. That dish inspired me to cook this one; however, it also has meat in it so that I can call it lunch.
This recipe is quite good honestly. I’m really happy with it. It’s incredibly moist, flavorful from the spices, and I love the juice that remains after baking the stew. Cardamom is my secret ingredient. If you don’t have it, it won’t turn out the same , and I’ll feel a ping in my heart every time you take a bite.
Also, no need to fully cook the eggplant; just make sure it’s browned because it will soften a lot in the oven. The same applies to the chopped onion. Serve with starch or by itself. I ate mine with leftover Butternut Squash Couscous. Will make this again, fo sho.
Middle Eastern Eggplant with Ground Turkey (aka Patlican Oturtma)
2 eggplants, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick slices (or 3 small japanese eggplants)
1/2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1 big onion, chopped
½ lb ground turkey (can also use beef)
2 tomatoes, diced *
1/2 cup tomato sauce * (or use 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes)
1 cup oil for frying
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp curry (optional)
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup hot water
Salt to taste
Place eggplant slices, salted, in a colander and let sit for 30 minutes. Let them stand for 30 minutes in water. Rinse and pat dry. Fry slices in a large saute pan; add salt and sugar if desired. Place in a large Pyrex for baking.
Cook ground turkey and then add the chopped onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes/tomato sauce, cumin, cardamom, curry, and black pepper.
Cook for another 5 minutes, and add salt to taste. Spread this mixture over the fried eggplants and add the water.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.