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Hispanic Outlook

(Dr.) Tina’s Tepsi


As you may have learned from last month’s issue, I’ve acquired a taste for middle eastern dishes.

It's the combination of spices, ingredients and preparation technique that make the "dish." In honor of National Physicians Week, this month's issue highlights a recipe courtesy of Dr. Tina Tarazi and her sisters Tamara and Tara, the three Ts behind the website Three Teas Kitchen.

Doctor by day, food blogger by night… or wait… is it the other way around?   

The recipe I chose to feature is called Tina’s Tepsi. I’ll admit I was a bit intimidated by both the time commitment (it was a workday mind you) as well as the main spice, which I had never heard of and didn’t have on hand.  But I was determined - on the website Tina described this dish as her favorite, the ultimate comfort food.  I was able to find the ingredients at our little lake-side grocery - really it’s a clean and simple list - all but the bahar.  Strike 1.  Next came the typical phone call to my neighbor across the street who is my “go to” when I’m stuck in the kitchen.  No bahar in their pantry either.  Strike 2.  Last resort -  the online search for substitutions.  Success!  There were various suggestions out there, including https://threeteaskitchen.com/baharat/.  Based on what I had at my disposal, I used equal parts paprika, cumin and cinnamon. For the ground meat, I used turkey.

The outcome was wonderful.  The prep time ended up being quite short, the recipe easy to follow.  The aroma in my kitchen was mouth-watering, and all enjoyed the dish.  I will definitely make this again - next time with real bahar.

Prep time: 1 Hour

Cooktime: 1 hr 20 mins    

Total Time:   2 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients:

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 bahar

~1 tbsp salt

2 large tomatoes

Directions:

• 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!

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