Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

I know that I promised you guys something that isn't a cake, and after sticking it through like twenty cakes with me, you definitely deserve it. So with that promise in mind, I walked into my local library this morning, hoping to run into a cookbook with something green on the cover, something that would make me want to sail full speed out to the farmer's market and buy out their supply of whatever is in season (not like I need an excuse to do that, but still).

The first thing I noticed was the abnormal number of babies. Seriously, there were babies everywhere - on the floor, on the counters, flipping through yesterday's copy of the London Times... It was like a "Where's Waldo?" game, only with ... babies. Ookay, weird. The librarian behind the counter looked at me strangely and said (in what I thought was an unnecessarily snooty voice), "Are you here for... story time?" She paused slightly and added for full effect "MA'AM," making me feel like I was all of a hundred, instead of a young'un of 30. All the babies and their mammas promptly turned their suspicious eyes towards me and I was stuck, looking like a deer in the headlights, to mumble meekly "oh, sorry" and beat a hasty retreat. It turns out that the library actually closes for two hours of 'story time,' and as I didn't have the required accessory to participate, I decided to nix the cookbook idea and make you my grandma's stuffed eggplant instead. It's really good, trust me, and considering that I braved a whole battalion of babies for you guys, I really think you should just make it. :)

Stuffed Eggplant

It's been pretty busy here at Chez Irene lately. Summer is the season of birthdays in my family, which means a lot of celebrating, but between all those cousins, all that tequila and that pesky job thing that's been taking up more and more of my attention, there has been very little time for anything else. So please forgive me if I'm not as active here and and on your blogs as of late and don't get mad if I take a little longer to respond to your emails. I hope everyone's just as busy with their own cousins and tequila (a killer combination) to notice my brief absence.

My Grandma's Stuffed Eggplant

(serves 6)

3 Japanese (or Italian) eggplant
3/4 lb ground beef (or turkey)*
1 large tomato
1/2 of a yellow onion
6 oz mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
a handful of parsley leaves, chopped
shaved Parmesan to top
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

*If you wanted to make this a vegetarian dish, simply do not use beef and use 1 onion instead of 1/2 and 10 oz of mushrooms instead of 6 oz. You can also mix in some cubed feta and pine nuts, chopped olives, etc.

Wash the eggplants, cut off the tops and slice each eggplant in half. Using a small paring knife and a spoon, cut/scoop out the insides of each half. Do not cut through the skin and leave enough eggplant inside so that the halves can stand on their own (they will look like little boats). Sprinkle with salt and arrange in a baking dish.

Chop the scooped out part of the eggplant into small squares. Chop the onion, tomato and mushrooms as well. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, until the onions are just translucent, then add the mushrooms. Saute for another minute, until the mushrooms give off liquid, and add the eggplant and the tomato. Saute for about 5-8 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and cooked through, then add salt and pepper to taste.

While the vegetables are sauteing, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in another pan and brown the ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Make sure the beef is cooked through completely. Add the beef to the vegetables, then stir in chopped parsley. Adjust the seasoning one last time.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Fill the eggplant boats with the beef/vegetable mixture and sprinkle the tops with shaved Parmesan. Pour a little bit of water into the baking pan, just to cover the bottom (this helps the skins of the eggplant to bake), drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

31 comments:

Pam said...

I don't even like eggplant and this looks good!

Michelle said...

I'm trying to find an eggplant recipe that makes me a fan. Maybe this is the one!

aka_Nik said...

Wow these look delicious. Glad we stuck it out through all the cakes! And sorry about the babies. I will make this because I know what it's like to be taken over by a wave o'babies.

Grace said...

your granny knows her stuff--these look amazing! they're almost too pretty to eat, but melted, stretchy cheese is just too enticing. :)

Happy cook said...

Looks so good , i have never made stuffed eggplant. I am going to ty this as it looks really delicous.

LE said...

Irene, did you drain the beef before you added the other ingredients?

I swear, my mouth was watering as soon as I saw the first picture.

Elra said...

Irine,
This stuffed eggplant look so good. I love eggplant and love to make something like this as well. It's my family favorite.

Irene said...

LE - I used very lean ground beef, so there wasn't too much to drain. I think I would still leave a little bit of drippings - combined with the liquid from the veggies, the stuffing didn't get dry at all, which was perfect.

Irene said...

Grace, if you like melty cheese, it would probably be better to add the cheese about 5 minutes from the end of baking - that way, it's at its maximum melty deliciousness! My grandma likes the cheese to be really toasted, but next time, I will hold off on adding it until the end as I prefer melty as well. :)

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I loved looking at your stuffed eggplant. I hate eggplant parm because I do not like the taste of fried eggplant but these baked eggplants look like they would be delicious.

Y said...

Well you didn't stick around for storytime, but you certainly got a good story out of it! ;) I love all things eggplanty. This looks fab!

Juliana said...

Wow, love eggplants but never tried to stuff them...love the idea that the ones that you feature are baked...yummie. Nice pictures as well.

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

You posted this just in time! I buy a lot of eggplant, but usually end up grilling it. This is inspiring me to do something interesting with it. I love stuffing vegetables with ground turkey, rice and cheese.

Bobbi Lewin said...

tequila always gets me into trouble but I keep going back! The eggplant looks so good:) Our farmer's market opens this weekend here. can't wait to see what's offered!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Oooh, I love eggplant, this looks great. Nothing wrong with cakes though. =)

Katie said...

These look wonderful.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

I'm not an eggplant person by any measure, but this is mesmerising! They do look so good!

Kevin said...

Those stuffed eggplants look really good!

ChichaJo said...

These look fabulous! I already like eggplants but done up like this I'm sure I'd love them!

Helene said...

You're grandma gave you such a great recipe. Your eggplants look simply delicious.

The Food Librarian said...

Wow! What a great recipe! This looks wonderful!!!

And sorry you got a snooty librarian! :( boo.

Taste Buddies said...

I will never get sick of your beautiful cakes but I do love a good stuffed eggplant.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I like that you used the Japanese eggplants. They are so tender and tasty and perfect for stuffing. They look delicious!

♥peachkins♥ said...

These look good! This is a great idea,I've never had stuffed eggplants before..

Treehouse Chef said...

This looks so delicious and very unique. I love the idea of stuffing eggplant. Why didn't I think of that?

Sara said...

These look REALLY good, I love eggplant, especially the small ones. Less seeds :)

CookiePie said...

That looks so delicious and hearty - a perfect supper!

Eileen said...

This looks delicious! I have Japanese eggplant in my garden this year, and I will make this once they are ready to harvest.

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

Mmmmm, I should not be reviewing your blog so close to lunch time.

Sprouted Kitchen said...

this looks lovely! and itd be so easy to make this vegetarian if need be, wonderful blog!

Ms. Meza said...

looks wonderful! attempting to get my husband to enjoy eggplant....getting some meat involved may do the trick:)