Stuffed Aubergines in Olive Oil

Yalancı patlıcan dolması

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A delicious, succulent addition to a buffet spread. The aubergine is stuffed whole with a delicately spiced rice mixture, and cooked in olive oil. In southern Anatolia, where aubergine skins are dried just for this dish, tomatoes and hot peppers are added to the rice mixture. In other parts of Turkey fresh aubergines are used. To loosen the flesh from the skin, the aubergine is rolled, massaged and pummelled in the same manner as for the mackerel in uskumru dolması. Carefully cut around the stalk base with a sharp knife. Get a good grip of the stalk and pull the insides should come out with it, leaving a long hollow ready to fill. Put the flesh aside for another dish. Courgettes, hell peppers and tomatoes can also be stuffed with rice and cooked in olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 3 long thin aubergines, hollowed as described above
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little butter
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons currants, soaked in water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pint/600 ml water
  • 8 oz/225 g short-grain or pudding rice, washed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • bunch of parsley and dill, chopped
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Cooking liquid

  • 3-4 fl oz/100-125 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  • Soften the onions and garlic with the pine nuts in the oil and butter. As they begin to brown, stir in the currants and spices with the sugar. Pour in a little of the water and cook for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is reduced. Stir in the rice, pour over the rest of the water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Mix in the fresh herbs with a fork.
  • Stuff the aubergine cavities with the rice mixture until they resemble their former selves. Seal the hole with a slice of tomato. Lay the aubergines in a pan. Mix up the cooking liquid and pour over them. Cover the pan and cook gently for 30-40 minutes, until all the water has evaporated and only oil remains. Leave the aubergines to cool in the pan.
  • Place them on a serving dish. Slice each one into 4 or 5, and serve with wedges of lemon to squeeze over them.
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