Food Photography and Styling by Reena Newman.
On a recent trip to Israel, I had the best meal of my life at Azura, a tiny Iraqi restaurant in the Machane Yehuda. I recreated my favorite dish.
1 large eggplant
.5 lbs ground beef
.5 lbs ground lamb
.5 onion, diced
1/4 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
.5 pomegranate, seeded
2 tbs coarsely chopped parsley
2 tbs toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
lemon from 2 lemons
1/2 cup of tahini
1/4 cup water
1 tsp coarsely chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Place eggplant on a lined baking sheet and puncture holes with a sharp knife, so the eggplant doesn't explode in the over.
Cook the eggplant for 25 minutes or until completely soft on the inside and the outer skin is shriveled.
When the eggplant has cooled, cut it in half length-wise. Use a sharp knife and make sure that the stem is still on, just because it looks nicer. Scoop out the insides, so the eggplant skin acts as a bowl for you meat mixture.
Make the Tahini by adding the sesame paste to the garlic and lemon juice and whisk. It will start to separate, the acidity of the lemon reacts to the high fat content of the paste, so slowly add water until its at your desired consistency. Remember that you want to pour it over top two eggplant halves, so you want it to be a little bit runny. Add parsley.
Mix lamb and beef together and add spices. Heat a pan over medium high and add onions. Cook until translucent and add meat. Cook the meat for 5 or 6 minutes, until its no longer red in the center. If you like, add some of the eggplant meat you scooped out earlier and cook for 1 minute.
Scoop into your skins, top with tahini, pomegranite seeds, pine nuts and fresh parsley.