Featured Recipe: From the Turkish Kitchen

This month's featured recipes just might inspire your Thanksgiving table! We are sharing a highly popular savory meat and eggplant dish that is perfect for the winter months. And to top off your meal, we bet you've never seen a pumpkin dessert like this before.

Karnıyarık

Eggplant, known as patlıcan in Turkey, can be a tricky ingredient for non-Mediterranean cooks to navigate. It will often have a bitter taste if not cooked all the way through. If you are not a fan of this finicky produce or have been looking for a more creative preparation, then look no further than the Turkish kitchen. Somehow, Turkish cooks have come up with a variety of skillful ways to transform this humble plant. One of these savory delights is karnıyarık, translated as split belly. This savory stuffed eggplant dish packs a lot of flavor and is especially popular when the temperatures begin to drop. Go pick up the common ingredients from the recipe below and try it out for yourself tonight!

Ingredients

4 eggplants
1 tomato (small or medium)
2 long green peppers
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
5 oz ground beef
1 cup water
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes in sauce
4-5 pieces of parsley
sunflower oil and butter (for cooking)

Preparation

Clean the eggplants and peel vertically so that you have a pattern of stripes with some skin remaining. Then score the outside of each one before submerging in salt water for one hour. This procedure is said to draw out some of the bitter liquid and help to make the final dish less greasy. As the eggplant soaks you can prepare the other vegetables. Peel and chop the onion and garlic cloves, split the peppers lengthwise and discard the seeds, chop the parsley, and slice the fresh tomato.

Preheat your oven to 300. Remove eggplants from their saltwater bath and shake off the excess liquid. In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of sunflower oil and cook the whole eggplants for about 5 minutes until they have become a bit softer. Transfer the eggplants to paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Melt some butter in a large saute pan. Add the onion and ground beef, cooking until onion is transluscent and meat has browned. Now you can add the garlic, diced tomatoes, and about a cup of water to cook down. Season with the salt, pepper, and parsley and turn off the heat.

Take your eggplants and cut them like baked potatoes, stuffing the belly with the meat mixture. Decorate the top of each stuffed veggie with tomato slices and a strip of pepper. Align the eggplants on an oven rack covered with wax paper and be sure to wet the tops of each one with water. Bake them for 10 minutes and serve hot!

Kabak Tatlısı


There is no end to the list of pumpkin dishes we can enjoy when autumn arrives. In Turkey, the pumpkins may look a bit unrecognizable on the outside, but the inside offers the same golden-orange goodness. Kabak tatlısı, translated as pumpkin dessert, is a traditional Turkish dish you can find in all regions of Turkey. The candied gourd is a light and very sweet way to end a meal. Try it for your next fall or winter holiday gathering and we guarantee your guests will be impressed!

Ingredients

3 lbs pumpkin
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup chopped walnuts
tahini (optional)

Preparation

Taking your peeled and de-seeded pumpkin, cut it into big pieces (about 2 inches thick) and place in a large pot. If your pieces are too small they may fall apart during cooking. Pour the sugar on top of the pumpkin chunks and wait for one hour. You will see that the delicious gourd has released its juices and made a nice syrup.

Next, add the water and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once your mixture reaches boiling, you can reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes with the lid on. You should be able to easily pierce the pumpkin with a fork, but watch that it does not become too mushy. Leave your pumpkin off the heat in the pot until it cools. Now it’s ready to serve!

To serve up this simple and sweet dessert, you can top off each plate with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts. It is also very common to find this dish with tahini drizzled on top, as this adds a nice nutty and slightly bitter contrast to the sweetness.

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