Eggplant Stuffed With Beef and Tomatoes

These stuffed eggplants are common in Turkey and Sephardi communities.

Eggplant Medias stuffed with beef and tomatoes.
Eggplant Medias stuffed with beef and tomatoes. Vered Guttman

Stuffed eggplants are common in Turkey and in Sephardi communities. The name Medias means “halves” in Ladino and refers to the way the vegetables are cut before stuffing.

The combination here is a simple Turkish one, eggplant and tomatoes with ground beef. I just couldn’t wait until the summer to prepare it.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

6 Italian eggplants
Olive oil spray
Kosher salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/4 lb. ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, strained
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 205 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, leaving a small stem on (for decoration purposes). Using a knife, mark a 1/3 inch wall around the edge, and using a melon baller scoop out the pulp, leaving a 1/3 inch wall all around. Chop the eggplant pulp and keep on the side. Spray the eggplant halves with olive oil spray, sprinkle with a little salt and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the eggplants are soft.

2. Lower the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

3. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until transparent. Add ground beef and tomato paste and cook until the beef just starts changing color, using a fork to break the meat. Add the chopped eggplant pulp and tomatoes, cinnamon and black pepper and continue cooking until the eggplants are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes longer.

4. Stuff the eggplant halves with equal portions of the beef stuffing. Return to the 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven and bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.