Aubergine Boats

This recipe is a vegetarian alternative to a Turkish dish called Karniyarik which is literally translated to ‘split belly’. Usually, these oven baked aubergine slices are split down the middle and stuffed with a beef or lamb mince. However, it can also be done with any sort of vegetarian mince substitute.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Aubergines (try to pick out smaller ones if you can)
  • About 350g of mince meat substitute (I used Quorn)
  • 1 small- medium sized onion
  • Tomato puree (about 2 tablespoons for the mince filling and 1 for the tomato sauce)
  • Half a can of canned tomatoes
  • A generous handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • About 2 tomatoes to garnish

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Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut the aubergines in 2 or 3 slices length ways without chopping off the ends, make sure they are not too thick but thick enough to hold the stuffing when split. Place them on an oven tray lined with baking paper and leave in the oven for about 40 minutes until they are almost entirely roasted and soft enough to split and stuff easily. To allow them to cook through score the top of the slices with a knife.
  3. As your aubergine slices are cooking in the oven, you can start to prepare the mince filling:
    1. Finely dice the onion and cook in a little bit of olive oil on a medium heat until see-through.
    2. Add the two tablespoons of tomato puree and coat the onions with it.
    3. Add in the mince and continue to cook the mixture, adding salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Once the mince has gained more colour add in half a can of canned tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
    5. Then add in some boiling water, just enough to come up to the surface of the mince mixture. Turn up the heat to allow some of the water to boil off and when it has reduced turn down the heat again and cover the saucepan with a lid.
    6. Once the mixture is no longer watery and has become thick, take it off the heat completely and add in the chopped parsley and mix it in.
  4. To make room for the stuffing once the aubergines are done, cut down the middle of the slices and make some room by taking some of the inside out with a spoon. Then fill generously with the cooked mince mixture
  5. Cut up about 2 tomatoes in thin round slices to garnish each of the aubergine ‘boats’, placing 2 slices on each one.
  6. Mix about 1 tablespoon of tomato puree with water to make a watery tomato sauce to then pour over the boats on the oven tray.
  7. Place in the oven to bake until the tomatoes have cooked through and the rest of the aubergine looks baked.

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