Bulgarian Eggplant Pepper Kiopoolu

Bulgarian national dish (kiopoolu) made from roasted eggplant , garlic, peppers and spices

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Steam: 10 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
112 Calories
6g Fat
15g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 112
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 228mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 3g
Calcium 51mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kiopoolu is an eggplant-based dish that's very popular in Eastern Europe. Although all countries in the area take credit for the invention of this flavorful spread, the true origin might date back many centuries to the Turks. Similar to Croatian and Serbian ajvar, this Bulgarian spread has tomatoes and green bell peppers instead of red, which are more traditional. Most areas in the Balkans have a similar eggplant dish, but its flavor can vary from very sweet to very spicy depending on the herbs, spices, and additional vegetables used. Our traditional Bulgarian kiopoolu is made out of roasted eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings, with an optional squeeze of lemon juice to add some tang. This easy recipe makes a deliciously fresh spread that's great on crusty bread and wonderful when used to accompany meats, from steak to sausage, grilled chicken or roast beef. This recipe is fairly simple to make and doesn't require any technical knowledge besides giving the peppers and eggplant a good broil until charred and fragrant.

It's no accident that a dish such as kiopoolu was born in this part of the world. On the one hand, the Balkan peninsula has exuberant and varied weather, from very hot summers in the south to very cold winters in the central and northern areas. With all four seasons, agricultural goods are plentiful and diverse, giving room to an infinite amount of vegetarian dishes, such as kiopoolu. On the other hand, its geographical position made the Balkans the perfect melting pot between Asia and Europe—and also a spot for contention—which in culinary terms translated to several influences coming and going from East to West and back agan. Produce, spices, and techniques came and went, giving life to dishes that represent the best of both parts of the world. Eggplant and lemons from India met domesticated tomatoes and peppers imported from the Americas. Mixed with Mediterranean parsley and olive oil, they gave origin to a spread that has a place in most households in the Balkans.

Serve at room temperature as an appetizer, with bread, or use it as a side dish for grilled meats. When serving, add olive oil to taste and additional herbs if you'd prefer. Using parsley is standard, but coriander is used, too. For an Eastern flair, choose mint instead. Use this sauce as an innovative spread for cold-cut sandwiches, as the sweet peppers and smokey flavor of the eggplants really complement the flavor of smoked meats and cured hams. Serve it on your next cheese plate to allow your guest to try it on different types of salami, sausage, or chorizo. Or get creative with a dish of andouille sausages in a bun topped with a generous spoonful of kiopoolu. Refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, washed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 green bell peppers, washed, seeded, and halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 firm-ripe Roma tomatoes, washed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped; or coriander, or mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional: lemon juice to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Broil eggplant and peppers, skin-side up, until blackened. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes.

  2. When cool enough to handle, remove skins.

  3. Puree eggplant and peppers in a food processor until smooth. Slowly pour in the olive oil through the food chute and process until well incorporated.

  4. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.