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'Karniyarik' means 'split belly,' which refers to the technique used to stuff these, although depending on the size of your eggplant, it could also refer to you after enjoying this delicious dish. Serve these with rice and yogurt sauce, such as tzatziki (see footnote). The cold, acidic sauce would be a perfect foil for the rich, aromatic, slightly sweet flavor profile. Top stuffing with extra strips of peppers if you like.

Recipe Summary

25 mins
1 hr 45 mins
10 mins
2 hrs 20 mins
4 stuffed eggplants


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Brush some olive oil over the bottom of a baking dish.

  • Peel 4 strips, spaced evenly apart, from each eggplant. Place eggplants in the prepared dish.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until eggplant just start to soften, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with some olive oil. Leave oven on and let eggplant cool.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt; saute until onions are translucent and slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add lamb and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, until browned, about 5 minutes.

  • Add garlic, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, rosemary, parsley, tomato paste, and 1 teaspoon salt to the lamb. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add poblano and Fresno chiles. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add Pecorino cheese.

  • Slice an opening into each eggplant through one of the peeled strips. Spread eggplant 'bellies' open with two spoons and remove excess seeds if desired. Season insides with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and fill with the stuffing. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top; pour chicken broth into the dish.

  • Continue baking until eggplants are very soft and tender, about 45 minutes. Spoon pan drippings on top to serve.

Chef's Notes:

You can substitute ground beef for the lamb. Use any combination of sweet/hot peppers and whatever cheese you're into, especially sheep's milk cheese.

Use eggplants that have small dots rather than large indentations.

Here's my recipe for tzatziki.

Nutrition Facts

587 calories; protein 36.4g; carbohydrates 41.1g; fat 33.5g; cholesterol 108.4mg; sodium 1553.4mg. Full Nutrition