Thursday, April 16, 2015

STUFFED EGGPLANTS ("Papoutsakia")

Ingredients

2 medium-large eggplants
8.8 oz  of minced beef
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
8.8 oz  of canned tomatoes (passata is good and freshly grated tomatoes even better)
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water
1 oz  butter
1 tbsp of plain flour
1 cup of lukewarm milk
Pinch of nutmeg
3.5 oz  of grated kefalotyri cheese

Preparation

Cut the eggplants in half. Using a pairing knife score the around the inner flesh leaving a small border. Using a spoon carefully scoop out the flesh. Dice the scooped flesh and set aside.
Fry the eggplant halves in a little olive oil. This is to soften the flesh. Fry each side on a medium heat for 5 mins. Once cooked place the eggplant halves on a pre oiled baking tray.
Pour a little olive oil in a medium sized pot and fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until the mixture becomes translucent.
Add the diced eggplant and saute for a few mins until softened. Add the beef mince and break it up using a wooden spoon. Once the meat is browned add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper and the water. Bring to a boil and allow the sauce to simmer for 30 mins.
Whilst the sauce is simmering prepare the béchamel. Add the butter to a small pot. Once it melts add the flour and stir continuously for a few mins. (we want to remove the flour taste from the roux). Add the lukewarm milk to the flour/butter mixture and stir vigorously. Add the nutmeg and cheese and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Set aside.

Fill the eggplant halves with the meat sauce. Top with béchamel and bake in a pre heated 356 deg F oven for 40 mins or until browned on top. Allow to cool a little before serving or alternatively serve the next day.