A little foodblogging: Tonight we tried an appealing recipe for "Pear-Shaped Meatballs Stuffed with Creamy Eggplant." I don't really feel like putting the effort to plagiarize it whole, and if this sort of thing appeals to you, you'd be be well advised just to find a copy of The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean by Paula Wolfert. She locates this recipes origin as Aleppo; it seems very Turkish to me, though perhaps it represents a strain of Arabic cuisine I haven't been fortunate enough to experience. (Virtually every Levantine restaurant I've visited in the western U.S. has left me thinking, "Surely Arabs must occasionally eat something besides hummus, tabouli, falafel and dolmas." But it is the mountain West in question, so I'm sure there is indeed more out there.)
This is something of an inversion of the dish karnıyarık
("riven belly"), which is a large eggplant stuffed with meat and other goodness. In this instance, one fries some small eggplants and stuffs them into the (nicely seasoned) meat, leaving the stems exposed:
Then you fry them a bit:
Make up a sauce from tomatoes, onion, garlic and seasonings:
Pour the sauce over the meatballs, bake for half an hour and serve:
Recommended, especially if, like me, you enjoy eggplants but wish to downplay their vegetable nature.
Wolfert calls this dish "ormuk kebabi," but a Google search for the phrase produces only a single irrelevant website in Hungarian. Ormuk certainly sounds Turkish rather than Arabic, but my casual searching has only found the word to be a) the name of a volcano near Lake Van [pg. 6] and b) "A fine, soft fabric, made of the hair of young camels in Turkestan." My curiosity is piqued.