How to Make Eggplants Stuffed with Meat and Herbs
- 6 small (6 to 7 inches long) Italian eggplants (total weight about 2 ½ pounds)
- ½ cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 6 small Italian green peppers
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium Spanish onion, grated ( ¾ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 medium tomatoes—2 peeled and chopped (about 1 cup), 2 cut into quarters
- 1 pound ground lean lamb or beef
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup lamb stock or water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the eggplants lengthwise, peeling around the stems and leaving them intact. Make a deep incision along the length of each eggplant, making sure not to cut all the way through it or to the ends. Place the eggplants in a large bowl of generously salted water and set them aside for 20 minutes.
- To make the meat-and-herb stuffing, melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes, or until they’re softened but not brown. Add the tomato paste and I cup chopped tomatoes, and continue cooking, stirring for 1 more minute. Add the lamb or beef, parsley, dill, and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well, cover the saucepan and simmer for I5 minutes. Set the stuffing aside.
- Rinse and drain the eggplants, then gently squeeze out the excess water. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over high heat and fry the eggplants until they’re lightly brown all over, about 2 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the skillet and let them drain on paper towels. Add the green peppers to the skillet and fry them gently for about 2 minutes, until they are wilted.
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- To assemble, lay the eggplants side by side, cut side up, in a baking dish. Season with salt. Stuff them with the meat mixture and lay the green pepper on top. Arrange the quartered tomatoes on top, next to the peppers. Pour over the remaining cooking liquid from the stuffing. Cover with wet parchment paper. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Serve warm with the pan juices spooned on top.