While living in Turkey my favourite dish I learned to make was Karniyarik (stuffed eggplant). Being a country where access to wines was not always easy either! Luckily, I got my hands on a Late Bottle Vintage (LBV) Port and that night experienced a magic pairing. The eggplant and ground beef in the dish are spiced with cumin, cinnamon and paprika and really make the wine sing. It’s proved unquestionably that Port is not just for dessert! 

2 medium eggplants
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 small can diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper, to taste


Directions: Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, very generously season flesh with salt. Place in colander flesh side down for 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, place beef in skillet set over medium heat. Brown the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon while cooking. When beef is browned drain excess fat, and set beef aside. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, lower heat to medium-low. Add the shallots and sweat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and sauté for 30 seconds. Return beef to pan along with tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Rinse eggplants and dry on paper towels. Set a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add remaining olive oil. Sear eggplant flesh side down until brown. Remove, scoop out flesh, leaving ½-inch of flesh beside the skin. Roughly chop eggplant flesh and mix with beef mixture. Fill eggplants shells with the beef and eggplant mixture. Place in a baking dish and set in oven preheated to 400 F. Roast for 20 minutes.