We call this recipe "Papoutsakia" which literally means little shoes. It's one of the most popular summer dishes of Greece and incredible delicious. In the past, cooks used to fry the eggplants and then stuff them with the ground meat. This is a lighter version, I'm just baking the eggplants for a while, then stuff and bake them.
Ingredients (4 people)
4 to 6 small eggplants
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic minced
Salt - Pepper
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
400 g ground beef
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
a pinch of sugar
1/2 cup tomato passata or 4 ripe juicy tomatoes grated
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons bulgur (measured raw) soaked in water for half an hour and drained. (You can skip the bulgur if you want)
1/4 cup of chopped flat parsley
Greek Yoghurt to serve
How to make
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave them aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put a wide frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and stir 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Continue with the chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper and stir again. Add the ground beef and using a fork, try to dissolve the big pieces. When the meat has changed color, add the bay leaf, cumin, allspice and stir. Add the tomato juice and hot water. Add the bulgur, check for seasoning and turn down the temperature to low. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. We want a juicy mixture so it may be necessary to add some warm water while cooking. Finally sprinkle the sauce with fresh chopped parsley. Set aside
Using a paper towel wipe the eggplants from the salty and bitter juices. Score them vertically and diagonally using a knife.
Lay them in a baking dish with parchment paper and bake scored side up for 15 to 20 minutes.
When ready add the sauce on top of the eggplants using a spoon
return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes more.
Serve with Greek yoghurt and roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!