Roasted Eggplant with Sichuan-Style Pork

Our chopped challenge this week was ground pork. We wanted to infuse with as much flavor as possible so we cooked it Sichuan-style and paired it with sweet Japanese eggplant. Chopped Basket Ingredient: ground pork
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

6 medium Japanese eggplants (about 1 pound), tops trimmed, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground pork

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

6 cloves garlic, minced

One 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 to 4 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce or sambal oelek

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Steamed white rice, warm, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a rack set on the middle shelf.
  2. Use a sharp paring knife to lightly score the flesh of each eggplant 6 to 8 times. Place the on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant, cut-side down, and bake until the eggplant starts to soften and the skin starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Use a large offset spatula to gently flip the eggplant over and bake until the flesh is completely softened and light golden brown, about 15 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pork: Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add the pork and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up the meat, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, 1/2 cup water and half of the scallion greens. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, spoon the pork over the roasted eggplant and garnish with the remaining scallion greens. Serve with steamed rice.