Similar to a traditional İmam bayıldı, a delicately flavoured and rich roast aubergine stuffed with tomatoes and cooked to silky perfection, try Manfred’s version with beef mince for a filling and delicious main meal – top with grated cheese and serve hot and bubbly alongside plain rice or polenta mash. Any leftover tomato sauce can be served alongside.

Serves 2-6, depending what else you offer up alongside.

  • 2 aubergines (long and slender, if you can find them) or 4-6 small aubergines 
  • Sea salt
  • Approx 4-6 tbsps mild olive oil

Stuffing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into thin half moons 
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
  • 400g organic beef mince
  • 2x 400g tinned chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (pul biber) or pinch regular chili flakes (optional) 
  • salt and pepper 
  • handful of mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated
  • fresh parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Cut aubergines lengthwise in half and lightly score the open surfaces. Salt cut surfaces generously and set aside for half an hour. Then brush the salt off the aubergines, sprinkle with olive oil and put them in an oven dish and roast in a preheated oven at 200C until starting to soften, around 20 minutes. Leave to cool, then carve out the soft flesh from the middle of each aubergine half, leaving the skins intact with a little flesh attached. Put flesh aside and leave the skins in the oven dish.
  2. Heat a thick bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and fry the onion until softened, but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir regularly. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, stirring constantly, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add beef mince and briskly fry until browned. Add tomatoes, reserved aubergine flesh and Aleppo pepper (if using). Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, 5-6 minutes. Gently stir to ensure nothing catches at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the stuffing into the aubergine skins and roast in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes. Top with grated cheese and cook until melted and bubbling.