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Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve had my share of cooking disasters, and this one looked like it was headed that way. Before I left the house, I put brown rice and water in the rice cooker, clicked it to start and went on my merry way, expecting to use the results in a stuffing for baked eggplant. Three hours and many errands later, I came home to uncooked rice and a puddle of water on top. The electric outlet stopped working. By now it was too late to cook  the rice so I moved to plan B – bread crumbs instead of rice.  Sauté the ground meat (check), dice the onions (check), mince the garlic (check) and …..brrrring …… it’s the phone and husband calling. When I tell him I’m in the middle of preparing dinner he asks: “What are you making?” me: “Stuffed eggplant.” Silence for a few seconds, then a comment about the last time I made it when the eggplant wasn’t cooked through. I have to admit it was like eating shoe leather. “Make sure you cook the eggplant long enough,” he advises. With that thought in mind, I scooped out most of the interior of the eggplant, and parboiled the eggplant shells first so they’d get a good head start cooking before their time in the oven. But 20 minutes in the boiling water was too long. Here’s the sorry state they were in when I rescued them from the pot: May 2009 199 I had scooped out all but about 1/4 inch of flesh, but most of that flesh had cooked away to nothing in the boiling water. Still, I thought I’d try to reshape the purple blobs with the stuffing mixture and use the oval shape of the casserole to keep them intact. Whaddaya know? It worked. Here’s what it looked like just after I put the stuffing in: May 2009 204 And here’s what it looked like just before it went into the oven, topped with cheese and tomato sauce: May 2009 206 And here’s what it looked like just before it all disappeared quicker than you can say mozzarella. May 2009 214 I’m kind of glad the rice cooker didn’t work because I liked the bread crumb substitution even better. And the eggplant was so soft and silky that the shoe leather memory was now history. The dish had such a luscious mouth feel it was like eating eggplant-flavored ice cream.   Hey, maybe that could be the next big thing! Here’s the recipe that will serve four people or two shameless gluttons: Baked Stuffed Eggplant: 1 large eggplant 1 pound ground meat (I used ground chicken breast) 1/2 cup minced onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 T. olive oil red pepper flakes, to taste salt, pepper to taste 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/2 cup parmesan cheese 1 cup grated mozzarella (Don’t bother spending the extra money on hand-made mozzarella for this recipe – the already-grated kind in a plastic bag actually has a better melting characteristic.) 1 egg handful of chopped parsley about 1 cup of tomato sauce

  1. Cut the stem off the eggplant and cut it in half. Run a knife around the perimeter of each half, keeping about 1/2 inch of the flesh intact. Scoop out all the rest and chop it in small pieces. Place the two halves of the eggplant into boiling water and boil for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
  2. Sauté the ground meat and discard any fat or water left over. Set the meat aside in a bowl.
  3. Sauté the onion until soft in the olive oil. Add the chopped eggplant pieces and cook through, continually stirring so they won’t stick to the pan. Add the garlic when the eggplant is nearly cooked through. Sauté until the eggplant is soft. Remove and place in the bowl with the ground meat.
  4. To the bowl, add all the rest of the ingredients except the tomato sauce, but save a little bit of the parmesan and mozzarella to sprinkle on the top. Mix together and fill the eggplant shells, forming them with your hands into an oval shape if necessary.
  5. In an ovenproof casserole, place a small amount of tomato sauce. Place the eggplant halves into the casserole, and top with more of the sauce and the cheeses.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes.
  7. If you can keep your mitts off, let the eggplant rest about five minutes before slicing. It will hold its shape better that way.
This Post Has 28 Comments
  1. How to learn from your mistakes, with wit! I don’t know if I read you for the recipes or just for the stories. I like both and your blog feeds the eyes, the mind and the spirit: Brava! Anna

  2. I like eggplant..I bet I would even like shoe leather eggplant…you see if we didnt know the ‘behind the scenes’ action of this we would all be none the wiser….

  3. My goodness does that look good, even if the eggplant was boiled too long! I’m going to give this one a try this coming week!

  4. Definitely bookmark Linda!
    They don’t just look good and also looks really mouth watering. Delicious!

  5. OK, so it looks like the road to get here was paved with stress and near-failures, but the outcome looks delicious!!! I just adore eggplants, in any form, but especially stuffed with other yummy flavours! This looks like it was such a satisfying dinner 🙂

  6. my body is craving something savory. and your pictures hit the spot. i only wish i had the real thing!

  7. Yum! I have had the idea to make stuffed eggplant for about a week and yours is making me want it even more.

    And I hate when husbands doubt! How dare they! LOL

  8. Yum! I have an eggplant in the fridge. So the boiling time you gave us (10-15 mins) is that the too long time or is that what you think would work out better?

  9. Sometimes the best recipes come out of a near disaster LInda! Your stuffed

    eggplants looks so good. My sister-in-law stuffs mini eggplants with a potato/ bread crumb /cheese mix and they are so delicious. She will not share the recipe and I can never find it in any cook book, and try as I may I can’t replicate them, but I’ll keep

  10. That is really nice, looks so tasty…I love eggplant and I am always looking for new recipes…thanks. The pictures that you have are really nice

  11. Us Greeks have a similar dish called “papoutsakia” or little shoes. Try this out with the smaller, thinner eggplants, stacked side-by-side.

    Regardless, the dish looks scrump!

  12. This looks absolutely delicious (and healthy). Thanks for posting. Now I know what I’m having for dinner 🙂

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