Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant

This Food Network recipe for Mom's Stuffed Eggplant comes courtesy of Michael Chiarello. A plethora of ingredients including boiled eggplant, seasoned ground beef, a blend of sauteed peppers and onions with garlic and fresh herbs combined with egg, breadcrumbs and pecorino romano cheese are stuffed into an eggplant shell and baked for just under an hour. The recipe yields one of the most flavorful, hearty, comforting winter meals. It can easily be doubled or tripled, therefore it works well for entertaining. I find the below recipe easily serves two, with leftovers to spare. Who doesn't love leftovers?

Ingredients:
  • 1 large eggplant 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 chopped tomatoes (Adam dislikes tomato, but it is easy to leave out of his half.)
There is a good amount of prep work that goes into the ingredients list. Simple prep work though, made much easier by the new additions to my kitchen - the extra large round cutting board (Thanks Leah!) and my J.A. Henckles stainless steel 7" bladed knife (Thanks Mom!)
Adam helped by scooping out the Eggplant. You want to cut it in half lengthwise and delicately remove the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Then boil the scooped out center part until very soft, about 10 - 12 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool in a large bowl.Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and saute until the beef begins to brown slightly. Drain the beef, removing the fat. Let cool briefly and set aside to combine with the eggplant.
In another medium pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the peppers, onions and garlic. This can all happen simultaneously. Once the stove top tasks are completed, in the large bowl mix together the eggplant, cooked beef, sauteed vegetables, herbs, one cup of the cheese, breadcrumbs and the egg. Fill the scooped out eggplant halves with mixture, dividing evenly among two halves. Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish and bake for 50 minutes in 350 degree preheated oven.While it baked I enjoyed a beer or two, watched some football and did the dishes as the aroma of the stuffed eggplants baking wafted through the apartment.Dale's Rocky Mountain Pale Ale from Colorado is an assertive ale with balanced flavors of pale malt and hops. The heaping amounts of fresh basil and parsley, as well the onions, pepper and garlic lend abundant flavor to the tender eggplant and hearty beef laced with melted cheese and breadcrumbs.The seeds of the eggplant add an enjoyable crunch, their value not realized initially as the dish was being prepared. The warm tomatoes strike a pleasant balance texturally. I'm not sure why my cheese on top maintained its form instead of melting into the dish, but it wasn't a deal breaker. All the cheese loaded into the baked ingredients proves an immensely satisfying and comforting dish. With the snow falling softly outside, an exciting Football game on TV, and the company of friends, it couldn't have been a more relaxing Saturday night in.

27 comments:

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Mmmmmm I love eggplant! There is a traditional dish in the Philippines very similar to this (dipped in egg, instead of topped with cheese) and I am craving it now! I cna see you're already cooking so much more, great job!!

Alicia said...

I love Eggplant but Rafe, not so much. He was reading this post over my shoulder and liked your pictures and said 'I'd eat that'. So that is a really good sign! I'd love to try this out!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

sounds nice to me! looks delish. i love eggplant, esp eggplant parm!

Lizzy said...

So creative!!! So do you scoop out and eat the sides or do you cut the whole thing and eat the skin too?

Jennifurla said...

This sounds great, I am not the biggest fan of eggplant but...this might work!

MelissaNibbles said...

Looks tasty! That's weird that the cheese didn't melt.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I've tried this recipe before (http://funandfearlessinbeantown.blogspot.com/2009/09/herbed-spaghetti-squash-and-stuffed.html) and I know that it takes a LOT of prep work! But it is definitely worth the effort. This looks fabulous!

Jen said...

This does look delicious and hearty. Hubby and I are going to have to try it!

kfenton917 said...

Ok, this looks way too good! I'm coming over for dinner! BTW...how's the knife working for you?

shari @ little blue deer said...

That sounds like the perfect evening. Seriously, I'm such a homebody. Give me an eggplant parm and a few flakes falling outside and I'm a happy girl! Scott made ham dumplings this week, but the dumplings were more the consistency of matzoh balls, awesome comfort food! XX!

5 Star Foodie said...

I wonder why the cheese didn't melt; the eggplant looks delicious, great filling!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Looks SO good! I love when eggplants are baked and they get all soft and delicious. That picture of you posing proudly next to your eggplant is so cute!

Pam said...

What a great dish! I love eggplant and must try this.

Corinne said...

My favorite recipe ever!! Winter is not complete without this comfort from the oven.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Great recipe! We have been to Chiarello's restaurant in Napa Valley, and he is just amazing. I would definitely like to make this eggplant.

Meesh said...

this looks great and that eggplant is huge! Ive never done this with eggplant, but I have tried something similar with zucchini.

Megan said...

I love eggplant, and this looks fabulous! I've made stuffed peppers now and again, but I've never tried stuffing an eggplant. It's on the list now!

Di said...

That looks pretty good! I've never made eggplant on my own.

Kelly said...

I love Dale's Pale Ale! I think the whole craft beer in a can thing is great. The eggplant looks awesome too.

jennifer said...

I LOVE Your BLOG!!! Everything sounds and looks so delicious! Thank you for blogging and keep it coming!!!
Hope we get to see you four in January?!!!

Simply Life said...

wow, cooking with eggplant is still pretty intimidating to me -this looks PERFECT!

this free bird said...

I just called the Chef in here and asked him to make this sometime this week. It looks and sounds awesome!!

xo,
C

Elizabeth said...

Interesting! I've never seen stuffed eggplant before. Eggplant is definitely a favorite of mine.

Kerstin said...

What a tasty meal, I'm a big eggplant fan! Sounds like a perfect night in too.

Oh, My Darling said...

Oooh, hooray for eggplant! Love it so!

Anonymous said...

Saw this same recipe in the grocery story last night...

Anonymous said...

Have never had eggplant so I decided to make this tonight. It was a lot of work and it dirtied up a lot of dishes. By the time I got it in the oven, all I could think was that it better be the best thing I've ever had. LOL. I thought the filling was great, but I didn't care for the eggplant. I might use the filling (minus the boiled eggplant) in another recipe (made stuffed peppers), but I would not make this recipe again