Kebab Stuffed in Eggplant Pots (Saksı Kebabı)

I could not resist posting another eggplant recipe before the summer season is over. By chance, I found these beautiful looking, organic eggplants and I had to buy them. There are so many Turkish recipes with eggplants, so I like to try something different each time. This recipe I have not made before, but after tasting its deliciousness, I will make it more often. It goes excellent with crusty bread or rice or both!

5 large eggplants (black beauty found in most grocery stores works perfect)
Pot of salty water
2 cups olive oil for frying

For Kebab Stuffing:

1.5 lb cubed beef
8 shishito peppers (or 2-3 long, slim green peppers)
4 medium tomatoes (peeled and diced)
1 large onion (diced)
2 large cloves garlic (chopped)
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 cups of water

For Sauce:

2 cups water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt

For Garnish:

2 sliced tomatoes (optional)
10 shishito peppers (or 2-3 long, slim green peppers)

Heat a pan and place beef cubes. Cook until they release their water and remove from heat. In a pot, heat up olive oil. 

Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add peppers and diced tomatoes. Saute another 3-4 minutes. Add beef and garlic to the pot. Add two cups of water. Add salt, cumin, black pepper, thyme. Stir, cover and cook for 1 hour or until the beef is tender.

Wash and dry eggplants. Cut in half and clean inside to create a pot from each half. 

Add to the salty water and let sit for 1 hour. 

Wash eggplants and sprinkle the inside and the outside with salt. Dry and fry until all sides take a golden color.

Place all eggplants in a baking dish with the openings facing up. Fill each pot with stuffing. 

Garnish green peppers and if desired with tomatoes.

In a bowl, whisk the water, tomato paste and salt. Pour over the eggplants. If there is any juice left from the stuffing, pour it over the eggplants also. Bake at 350º F for 1 hour or until the eggplants are completely tender. Serve hot with rice.

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