Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

8 Jul

So tonight I’d tried a new recipe that I saw on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.  As usual I made a few tweaks to the recipe to either adjust to ingredients on hand, or to our personal taste buds.  I’m providing the link to the original recipe as well as how I prepared it.

Rachel’s Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

 

My version

2 large Eggplants

5 Tbl. EVOO

Salt & Pepper

1 lb. ground beef (I used 75/25)

2 Tbl. tomato paste

1 small onion, finely chopped

A medium handful of raisins (I combined both black and yellow)

1 container button mushrooms, diced

Splash of chicken stock

A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

5 Tbl. butter

1 cup breadcrumbs

½ cup chopped parsley leaves

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 475 degrees

Pour EVOO in baking dish/pan.  Cut one of the eggplants in half lengthwise, make 2 or 3 score marks to welcome oil and dip gently in pan.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Arrange cut side down and roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes depending on size.

Peel the remaining eggplant and dice into ½” pieces.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbl. of EVOO.  Stir in the beef, tomato paste, onions, garlic, diced eggplant and raisins.  Add S&P to taste.  Add the chicken stock and cook until the eggplant and onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they become soft.  Stir mixture often to rotate ingredients in pan.  Once done, remove from heat and add the fresh basil.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden.  Transfer to bowl and cool.

Add half of the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture and stir.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and transfer cut side up to a serving plate.  Top each half with a mound of “stuffing” and sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top before serving.  Top with fresh cut parsley.

Enjoy!

 

Here’s what we did differently…

I didn’t use the parsley but my husband did.  He said it was okay but didn’t really add anything to the dish.  The original recipe suggests you mix it in with the breadcrumbs but we saved it for the end.

Her recipe also called for pine nuts, but I didn’t see any at my market and didn’t want to go to another store in search.

Rachel’s recipe calls for either Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to add to the breadcrumbs as well.  I omitted that.

I had a basket of mushrooms on hand that were getting to the end of their freshness, so I added them ~ nice call!

Also, her recipe calls for raisins… I mixed black and yellow ~ another nice call.

And finally, I had to increase the butter from 3 Tbl. to 5.  I found the breadcrumbs just burned when I tried them the first time.  I threw out that batch and started over. Maybe if I had used the cheese it would have provided the necessary moisture I was lacking.

 

I really enjoyed this dish.  It’s hearty and full of flavor.  It’s also a nice recipe that can easily be adjusted for the vegetarians in my house (or yours).  Since the ground beef itself wasn’t seasoned, I imagine omitting it would still leave a filling flavorful “stuffing”.  Of course, you could also add other vegetables to make it heartier if interested.  Zucchini, squash or even tofu if you like.  Be creative; make it your own, just like I did.

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