Greek Stuffed Eggplant
- 3 medium eggplants (about 11/4 pounds each), split lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb, or lamb sausage removed from casings and crumbled
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 medium Roma plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup crumbled Feta
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Halve the eggplants lengthwise and with a sharp knife score the pulp in a diamond pattern, being careful not to pierce the skins. Scoop out the pulp with a spoon, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Chop the pulp.
Place the eggplant shells on a greased baking sheet and lightly brush the inside of each half with about 1 teaspoon of olive. Bake until the shells are softened but not brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a heavy skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Add the onions and bell peppers to the fat in the pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, eggplant, salt, Essence and pepper, and cook until the eggplant is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they give off their liquid, 3 minutes. Add the parsley and oregano, and stir well. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of bread crumbs and mix well into the vegetables. Stir in the feta, and re-season as needed.
Divide the filling among the eggplant shells, and sprinkle the remaining 1/4-cup of bread crumbs over the tops. Bake until the tops are golden and the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes.Essence:
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.