I decided to try an Iraqi dish for dinner last night. It is this month's challenge on the Walima arabic cooking blog. I love, love, love middle-eastern foods, so I was very excited when I came across this blog a month or so ago. I've never had anything that I've known to be Iraqi cuisine, but these sounded simple and tasty enough. We don't like eggplant at all, so I substituted zucchini instead, but otherwise kept everything else the same. So I guess its not truly authentic or anything, but it sure was good! And actually quite easy to make, too! Definitely a keeper for us! (I'll update later with a picture once I upload them off the camera)
Lissan Al Kadi - Eggplant Wrapped Meat
2 large eggplants
1/2 - 1 cup corn oil (if frying eggplant)
2 lbs. Lean ground meat
1 medium onion (1 cup) finely minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
For the sauce:
2 tbsp corn oil
1 large onion diced
1 large tomato sliced (optional)
1 large tomato peeled and chopped
14 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
Peel eggplant, trim off the top and bottom. Stand eggplant up on cutting board and slice vertically, 1/8" thin. Sprinkle generously with salt, place in a strainer for about 1 hour. Rinse off the salt and strain eggplant to dry.
Heat about 4 tbsp corn oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices in batches, turning once to brown both sides. Be careful not to burn. Add more oil as needed. Drain cooked eggplant slices on paper towels. Low fat alternative: Place eggplant slices on baking sheets lined with foil and brushed with corn oil. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes until brown, turning the eggplant halfway. (I baked mine)
Mix together the ground meat, onion, salt and pepper. Divide the meat into sausage shaped portions 1" thick and 2" long. Place a portion of the meat stuffing at one end of an eggplant slice and begin wrapping the eggplant around it. Place the rolls in a baking dish and layer the tomato slices on top (optional).
In a saucepan heat 2 tbsp oil and saute the diced onions. When soft, add the chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and turmeric. Add tomato sauce, beef or chicken stock and lemon juice to taste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the rolls in the baking dish, cover with aluminum paper and bake for 1 hour (or until done) at 450 degrees.