Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stuffed eggplant

I am a fan of eggplant. Not the type soaked with oil and soggy inside and out. Rather the roasted version, with minimal grease added, combined with flavors of lamb and cinnamon. This particular version is from Turkey: the eggplant of the fainted imam. According to the story, the imam left his wives to prepare a meal from eggplant, and the crazy women put expensive cinnamon in the dish. The imam was so shocked upon his return that he fainted on the spot. Well, you may faint, but not from the wasted cinnamon. The flavors of this dish are simply divine!

1 medium eggplant
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large tomato
100 g of ground lamb
half a green bell pepper
0.25 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp cinnamon
0.25 cup parsley leaves
black pepper
3 oz mozzarella
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Wash and cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Cut in the inside without piercing the skin into a checkered pattern. Sprinkle with salt and flip cut-side-down onto a paper towel. Allow to drain for 30 minutes. 

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a cast iron skillet. Remove and set aside. Dice the onion into larger pieces, mince the garlic, dice the pepper, chop the parsley leaves, shred the cheese.

Pat the eggplant dry and place onto a baking sheet cut-side-down. Roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions and the pepper in a cast iron skillet. Add the garlic and the ground meat, salt lightly and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomato, marjoram, cinnamon and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Remove the eggplant from the oven, scrape out the soft middle and mix into meat. Add three quarters of the chopped parsley.

Fill into eggplant skins and top with shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Top with remaining parsley. Serve wit brown rice.

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