This dish is my version of comfort food. Baharat spiced meat is wrapped in tender roasted eggplant and topped off with roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions and a spiced tomato sauce. It pairs perfectly with a plate of steamy fresh basmati rice.
My mom makes this dish often, as it is requested frequently in our family. Being the smart mama that she is, she always doubles the recipe below. One tray to eat that day, and one tray to freeze and eat later. Growing up, that later was often when she may be out of town for work. It was a treat to have such a gourmet meal even when she was away, although Baba’s potato chips were also graciously welcomed 🙂
Once, my husband Auddie (of the famous article, Auddie’s Old Fashioned), knew this was my favorite dish and made it for me as a surprise. By using the recipe below, he made it exactly like my mom’s. This dish was then coined as “Tina’s Tepsi” because it is my favorite, and because it kinda has a nice ring to it. Tepsi will always be absolute comfort food for me. I am so happy to share the recipe with you all!
- 2 lbs ground meat (85/15)
- 2 eggplants
- 2 peppers, any variety of colors work
- 1 large onion
- 6 ounces tomato paste (1 small can)
- 3 cups water
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- olive oil
- 3 tbsp baharat
- ~1 tbsp salt
- 2 large tomatoes
- Preheat over to 450F.
- Mix meat, 2½ Tbsp. bahar and ½ Tbsp. salt in a bowl with your hands. Shape meat into an oval, football like shape.
- Prep all the vegetables. Chop peppers into rings, and then large pieces once you reach the seed cavity. Chop onion into rings and tomatoes into large slices.
- Line 2 sheet pans with foil, grease (slightly generously) with oil.
- Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. These strips should be slightly thick, as this will help with removal of eggplant from sheet pan and with rolling meat into the strips later. Place eggplant strips on greased pan and brush each strip lightly with oil and then sprinkle with salt.
- Bake eggplant for about 20 minutes, until strips are lightly golden.
- While the eggplant cooks, cook meat patties. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and drizzle a little of olive oil on the bottom. Once the oil glistens, place meat patties in and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Avoid overcrowding your pan, and cook in batches. Place meat patties on a paper towel lined plate once done to drain off excess oil.
- Once eggplant is removed from the oven, reduce oven temperature to 400F. Once the eggplant is slightly cooled, take an eggplant strip, place a meat patty on one edge and roll until the patty is fully rolled up by the eggplant (see pic).
- To make the sauce, combine tomato paste, water, 1½ tsp. salt, ½ Tbsp. bahar and garlic into a bowl and whisk until combined.
- Pour half the sauce onto the bottom of a large baking pyrex or casserole dish. Place meat/eggplant rolls into pan. On top of each roll, place first a tomato, then onion, then pepper. It's ok if they do not all sit evenly.
- Cover pan with foil. Bake for 60 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered, then 5 minutes on high broil. Enjoy!