This recipe is inspired from the classic Imam Bayildi and the Greek "Papoutsakia" dish. There are many versions of that dish with similar names and executions throughout the eastern Mediterranean. I call it Imam Bayildi with Ground Meat and I love it! It packs so much flavour and that makes it irresistible!
That dish is best made in summer when eggplants and tomatoes are at their best, however I enjoy it al year round!!! If you can't find decent tomatoes, I recommend you to use canned crushed tomatoes.
What is Imam Bayildi?
Normally, Imam Bayildi is a vegetarian dish, however this recipe is not the classic one, because it is made with ground meat. It is an olive oil-based dish made with eggplants and a filling made with fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs.
Prepare the eggplants: Wash eggplants and peel each one lengthwise (white stripe-purple stripe). To make a pouch for stuffing the eggplant, cut it lengthwise and open the middle like a boat. You can either roast or fry the eggplants. I prefer roasting them, so that they become not heavy for the stomach and healthier. If you will roast them, then drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 30-40 mins or until soften. If you prefer to fry the eggplants then heat olive oil in a pan on medium to high heat. Fry each side of the eggplant until soften and golden.
Make the filling: In a pot with olive oil sauté the ground meat until brown. When ready, add onions and garlic, add pepper and brown sugar and sauté until onion is caramelized. Preferably use fresh tomatoes, but feel free to use canned crushed tomatoes, especially during winter time. Then add chopped tomatoes, salt and chopped parsley. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Don't forget to taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and stir.
Assemble and bake: In an oven dish place the eggplants next to each other. Fill the eggplants and pour the remaining filling over them and between them. Add one cup water in the oven dish and drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil. Bake and when ready, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with some fresh oregano, fresh chopped parsley or crumbled feta cheese.
How to store
If there is any leftovers, allow them to cool an d then store in an airtight container. Keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Servings: 5 pieces
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hour
For the eggplants
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the filling
3 medium onions
250 gr ground meat (half pork, half beef)
400 gr. chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 bunch chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
fresh or dried oregano
crumbled feta cheese
For the eggplants
Wash eggplants and peel each one lengthwise (white stripe-purple stripe). To make a pouch for stuffing the eggplant, cut each one lengthwise and open the middle like a boat.
Preheat oven to 200* C (392*F), set to Fan.
In an oven pan place a parchment paper and place the eggplants with the cut side up. Drizzle them with some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 30-40 mins or until soften.
When ready remove from the oven.
For the filling
In a medium sized pot or pan heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add ground meat and sauté for 10 mins in medium-high temperature or until brown.
In the meantime peel the tomatoes by immersing them for some seconds in boiling water. This way helps you separate easily the skin from the flesh. Using a knife chop them, add in a bowl and set aside.
Peel onions and cut in thick slices. Peel the garlic cloves and chop or mince them.
When the ground meat is ready, add onions and garlic and continue sautéing. Add pepper and brown sugar and sauté for 1 minute or until onions soften.
Then add chopped tomatoes, salt and chopped parsley. Cook for approximately 10 mins or until the sauce thickens. Before turning off the heat, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and stir.
In an oven dish place the eggplants side by side, next to each other. Using a spoon fill the pouch you carved along their flesh.
Pour the remaining filling over them and between them.
Add one cup water in the oven dish and drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil.
Cover the dish with a parchment paper and bake for 45-60 minutes.
Uncover the oven dish and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the eggplants caramelize, turn brown and remain almost with their olive oil in the sauce.
When ready remove from the oven and serve hot or cold.
If desired, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with some fresh oregano, fresh chopped parsley or crumbled feta cheese.
If you make this recipe, I' d love to see pictures or video of your creation on social media. Hashtag them #sweetandsaltyfeelings and tag @sweetandsalty_feelings Follow along on Instagram or Pinterest. Also, subscribe to the newsletter and stay up to date for upcoming recipes!