hello this is chef john from food wishes
dot-com with turkish stuffed eggplant that’s right i’m gonna show you how to
make carne ark although in the spirit of full disclosure i only found out this
dish existed like an hour before i started filming and i didn’t really use
a recipe and only did about 15 minutes of research but despite all that these
came out amazingly well oh and by the way in case you’re wondering the name
actually translates to split bellies which as you can see or at least will
see is a very accurate name so with that let’s go ahead get started by prepping
our eggplant and for this you’re going to need four equally sized hopefully
male eggplant and no eggplants really don’t have genders but when you’re
buying these what you want to look for is eggplant that have small round
indentations versus larger longer slot like indentations which tend to have
more seeds so when you’re choosing these remember you want dots not slots in to
prep these what we’ll do is pull off the leaves and then what we’ll do next is
take our peeler and make exactly four peels
equally spaced apart and this is not just for appearances sake okay these
equally spaced peels are one of the keys to the whole operation and that’s
because the peel on the bottom is gonna help these sit flat and the peel on the
top is eventually where we’re gonna split our bellies and then what we’ll do
once that’s been accomplished all for is go ahead and transfer those into this
baking dish into which i’ve brushed in a little bit of olive oil and then what
we’re gonna do is pop these into the center of a 400 degree oven for about 45
minutes to an hour or until they just start to soften okay we don’t want them
too firm but we also don’t want them totally collapsing so when they’re done
they should look a little something like this and they should feel sort of soft
and spongy but they should not be collapsing when we press them all right
we’re not trying to make baba ghanoush here and then because i probably
shouldn’t have done it when they went in the oven I decided to brush these with a
little bit of olive oil to kind of shine up the outside and then what we’re gonna
do is let these sit until they’re cool enough to handle at which point we will
honor the name and split the bellies and what we can do while those are cooling
is go ahead and make our filling which I’m going to start by sauteing a large
onion in some olive oil in this skillet set over medium-high heat and as usual
add a nice big inch assaults and usually we’ll saute
these onions until they just start to turn translucent but here my instincts
told me to go a little bit further until these onions not only softened and
started to turn translucent but also until they started to take on a little
bit of golden brown color alright for whatever reason I just thought these
should have a little more of a sweeter profile so that’s what I did I cooked
those stirring over medium-high heat until they looked a little something
like this at which point I’m gonna add a pound of
ground lamb and you know the drill once we add our meat we’re gonna sort of
break it up with our spatula into nice small pieces and we’ll continue doing
that till it’s as fine as we want and it eventually starts to brown up and even
though I’m using lamb here I believe beef is also a popular choice
and as far as the technique goes I really think you could do this with any
ground meat except ironically turkey I just don’t think it has enough fat for
something like this but anyway no matter what we’re using we’ll go ahead and
brown up our meat at which point we’ll add most of the rest of the ingredients
including some crushed or finely minced garlic some freshly ground black pepper
a little touch of ground cumin or cumin I also wanted to sneak in a little touch
of cinnamon which i think is always amazing with lamb anyway we will
continue on with a touch of cayenne as well as a pinch of dried rosemary and
speaking of herb I believe traditionally we’re supposed to use some freshly
chopped parsley in this but that didn’t happen and then we will finish this up
with a squeeze of tomato paste which I think you should always buy in tube form
since we typically just need a little bit at a time and then last but not
least a generous application of salt okay rule of thumb about a teaspoon per
pound of meat and then of course we will adjust from there and we’ll go ahead and
stir all that together and cook that for about two minutes to sort of wake up our
spices at which point we can add and stir in our last major ingredient and
that would be a whole bunch of die sweet and/or Hot Chili Peppers and I used a
combination of Anaheim poblano and Fresno okay so I went with an array of
mild medium and hot but whatever you’re into is gonna work including some just
regular old basic bell peppers and all we’re gonna do here is cook this for a
few more minutes until those peppers just barely get tender
okay keep in mind this mixture is gonna cook once we stuff it into the eggplants
and it bakes so we probably don’t want our peppers disintegrating at this point
so I just cooked mine for about three or four minutes at which point we’re simply
gonna turn off the heat and let this cool down for about ten minutes or so
before adding the final optional ingredients a handful of finely grated
sheep’s milk cheese okay I forget the exact name of the one I used since
Michelle bought it but it was very similar to pecorino and once that’s been
stirred in our filling is basically done although if you’re real pro of course
you’re gonna taste this and adjust for seasoning and then assuming our
eggplants are now cool enough to handle we can go ahead and split these bellies
by cutting directly through the middle of that part we peeled on the top but
don’t go all the way through to the bottom
all right maybe just like three-quarters of the way and then using two spoons we
can kind of pull that apart which is gonna give us plenty of space to stuff
in our filling and by the way if it’s cool enough this is probably easier if
you use your fingers unless of course you’re trying to use a camera and a
tripod then this wounds are probably easier and by the way one of my four
eggplant was female and did have more seeds so there you go and I did scoop
some of them out since they can tend to be a little bit bitter but anyway we’re
gonna split and spread open the bellies of our eggplant at which point we can
spoon in our filling and actually considered sprinkling some salt on the
inside before filling these but I thought my lamb mixture had enough
although in hindsight it didn’t and I could have used a touch more so
something to keep in mind but anyway we’re gonna go ahead and fill these as
evenly as possible and as we do we kind of want to press it
in and pack it down but be careful don’t do it too hard otherwise these could
burst open and then one stuffed I decided to decorate the top with some
extra pepper strips which is something I noticed a few people doing during my
exhaustive few minutes of research but of course this step is optional so you
decide I mean you are after all the Nelly Furtado of your split bellies
bravado but I did have some extra peppers and I do think it makes it look
nicer if not more aerodynamic I wonder how you say racing stripes in Turkish
but anyway we’ll decorate those as we so choose and then I finished the top so a
little drizzle of olive oil because it felt right
and then one last thing before we bake these I’m gonna pour in about a cup of
chicken broth so everything stays nice and moist and we’ll have a little
something-something to spoon over later and that’s it these are not ready to pop
back into our 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or so or until our eggplant
is very soft and tender okay it’s really gonna depend on the size so be sure to
give it the old polka polka with a knife to check and that should pierce the
flesh with virtually no resistance and if it doesn’t put him back in but mine
were perfectly tender so I went ahead and served up and spooned down some of
those drippings and that my friends for a first attempt did not look too bad and
I’m happy to report the taste and texture were also really good
all right I’ll probably tweak a few things the next time I make him like for
example salting the inside a little but my eggplant was beautifully tender and
creamy and the filling very flavorful although I’ve since learned since
filming I was supposed to serve this with rice and yogurt sauce so I will
definitely be trying it that way next time and probably whip up a batch of our
tzatziki sauce but anyway all know I thought this was very successful and not
just a specific recipe but the technique in general all right as I was enjoying
this I thought up a couple dozen variations I love to try again none of
which involve Turkey but anyway that’s it my attempt at making carne Arak it’s
always a lot of fun trying a new recipe for a lot of reasons first and foremost
is that there’s really no pressure it has to come out great and it really is
always more enjoyable to cook without fear okay we should all do that more
often so I’m gonna go ahead and do a little more research and maybe pick up a
few tips in the comment section but in the meantime I really do hope you give
this a try soon so head over to food which is calm for all the ingredient
amounts of more info as usual and as always
enjoy you




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