Imam Bayaldi (Stuffed Eggplant)

This is both a Greek and Turkish dish and is a favorite for a meatless main course. The name means "the holy man fainted" either because the eggplant was so good or the amount of olive oil used!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 4 scallions (including green tops), chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery, including some leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 3 tablespoons diced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Feta cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel eggplants lengthwise, leaving 1-inch bands of peel. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Scoop out centers to make boats. Chop scooped-out eggplant pulp; put into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add scallions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, green pepper, bay leaves, oregano, mint and parsley; mix well.
  3. Stuff eggplant boats with mixture. Sprinkle with a little olive oil.
  4. Place boats in a baking dish.
  5. Pour chicken broth and remaining olive oil into dish, around the boats.
  6. Cover and bake in a preheated 325 degrees F oven for 45 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.
  7. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.

This dish does not freeze well.