This is a rustic and easy-to-make old family recipe with just a few quality ingredients that make it really special. In my opinion, comfort food doesn’t get any better than this.
During my commutes to and from the lab, the first thing I do after putting on my [more or less] 52 layers of coats and scarfs is call my Persian mama.
We talk about family, lab stuff, my irresistibly adorable baby niece, I tell her how cold it is in Chicago and she’ll hesitatingly tell me it’s 80 degrees warmer in SoCal, and of course, we always seem to end up talking about food.
I’m constantly thinking about what to cook next, and especially because I have this blog thing and another job thing, it doesn’t always come easy when you want to churn out really yummy recipes.
Sometimes things get obnoxiously hectic and then all I want to do is cook and drown out the rest of the work noise.
On the flip side, sometimes I lose food inspiration for like 3 days and then I freak out because I think that I need to keep up with my schedule and come up with a recipe STAT; and it has to be a recipe that I stand behind 100%, because honestly, this blog is really special to me. It’s the stuff I truly love to eat at home and nothing less. I promise, if ever there’s a day I put up a recipe that I feel whatever about, let that be my 2-week notice.
So the other day when I was in my I-don’t-really-know-what-I-want-to-eat-so-I-probably-won’t ever-be-able-to-think-of-another-recipe-to-post-again mood, I called up my mama as I was commuting to the lab, and she was in the kitchen, already cooking up a storm.
I asked her what she was making and she said, “Gheimeh Bademjoon!” She sort of needed to remind me what exactly that was again because I hadn’t had it maybe a decade.
It’s an old family recipe from her side that consists of ground beef, seared eggplant, and tomato flavors. You eat it with fresh garlic yogurt and some Persian bread—or pasta if you want! We did that too as you can see, and it was beyond amazing. My worlds of Persian food love and Italian food love collided and it was something special.
I shouldn’t bother even explaining how good this food is. It’s the epitome of rustic and simple goodness. Let me just say that.
Needless to say, after our phone call, the clouds separated.
And then I felt this real sense of relief because I’d been cooking a ton of non-Persian stuff lately and it caused me to really miss my Persian food. I just didn’t know exactly which dish I was actually craving.
But my mama seemed to know just what I wanted because although I hadn’t eaten Gheimeh Bademjoon in years, the flavors were exactly on point with what my body craved.
Again, I’ve relearned that two things are forever certain:
1. Your body knows best.
2. When #1 sends you mixed messages, call up Mama because she always, always knows best.
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel HERE
- 1 large Eggplant or the equivalent amount of the smaller eggplant variety
- 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1-1.5 pounds of Lean Ground Beef
- 1 White or Yellow Onion, pureed in a food processor or shredded with a box grater
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 5 ounces (⅔ cup) of tomato paste
- 1 large Tomato (or 2 small/medium ones), rinsed and cut into thick wedges
- 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon (approximately 4 to 5 cloves) of freshly Minced Garlic
- Rinse the eggplant. Remove its stem and slice the eggplant into ¼-inch thick slices. Then cut into a bit larger than bite-sized pieces.
- Put water into a large pan to an inch deep. Add in the eggplant into a single layer. Turn heat to high and place cover over pan. Once the water starts seeming like it wants to boil, reduce heat to a simmer (most likely medium heat). After a couple minutes, flip them to cook the other side for another 2 minutes or so. The eggplant should soften and may slightly change in color. Remove the eggplant to a clean plate. Work in batches if needed.
- Rinse and dry the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan on med-high heat. Swirl oil around in pan to coat the surface.
- Add the eggplant to the pan in a single layer and don’t touch the eggplant for 2 minutes while it sears on one side. After 2 minutes, flip the eggplant and allow to cook for another 2 minutes before removing to a clean plate. Work in batches if needed (add more olive oil for each new batch).
- In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
- Add the beef mixture to the pan on high heat and use a spatula to break up the beef into small pieces.
- Allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the beef has browned and begins sauteing in its own natural fat.
- At this point, mix in the tomato paste.
- Mix in the eggplant and fresh tomato.
- Turn heat to med-low and mix occasionally for 5 minutes.
- To make the garlic yogurt, mix the garlic into the yogurt. Serve a large dollop of it on top of the beef mixture in your own plate that you’ll enjoy with bread, pasta, rice, or quinoa.