*Note: This is a classic dish of Volos and it is thought that the dish was brought by the Anatolian Greek refugees who fled their native Asia Minor early in the 20th century. Other versions can be found in other northern areas of Greece.
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 large onions, grated
250 grams of ground beef
1 cup of ripe, peeled tomatoes that have been diced (you can use the tinned version)
4-5 allspice berries
1 stick of cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggplants (about 1 kilo), cut lengthways into slices
1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of grated kefalotiri or any other hard yellow cheese (avoid using Italian cheese as it changes the taste of the dish)
1/2 cup of full cream milk
some wooden toothpicks (optional)
- In a large, preferably heavy frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions for a few minutes till translucent. Make sure they don’t brown, as the dish will then become very heavy.
- Add the mince and sauté all together.
- Add the tomatoes, all the spices, salt and pepper, cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes on slow heat, adding 1 1/2 cups of water.
- Remove the spices and allow mixture to cool.
- In another frying pan, preferably non-stick, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, roll the eggplant slices in the flour and fry on a medium heat on each side for about 1-2 minutes.
- Heat oven to 175°C. You will need a wide, large oven.
- On each eggplant slice place a teaspoonful of the mince mixture and roll the eggplant.
- Continue to do this, lining up the eggplant rolls with the seam down and next to one another like soldiers.
- You might need a toothpick to hold together the roll but that is optional.
- Mix the milk with the grated cheese and pour on top of each eggplant roll with a spoon.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese melts and the rolls are golden brown.