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For those who know me, I enjoy stuffing vegetables with all kinds of ingredients. Among my favourite are certainly stuffed aubergines (eggplants for my US-American friends).
For once in my life I wrote down the ingredients for the Middle-Eastern version I usually do. The recipe started from a Lebanese recipe I found years ago, but I spiced it up a bit.
2 aubergines, washed and halved
200 g minced lamb or beef
1.5 cups brown rice
1 shallot, minced
5 allspice fruits
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp za’atar
extra virgin olive oil
Start by boiling the rice, but remove it when it is halfway cooked. Drain and set aside.
Now take care of your aubergines. With the help of a spoon, remove the pulp of the aubergine while keeping a border of approximately 1 cm. Chop up the pulp. You’ll be adding it to the sauce.
Pour some olive oil in a skillet and fry each aubergine half for 2-3 minutes with the cut side down and then another 2-3 with the cut half facing up. This will help with the cooking process in the oven.
Place the halves into an oiled baking tray with the cut halves facing upwards. Proceed to preparing the sauce.
In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and fry the shallots until translucent. Add the meat and the pulp of the aubergines and cook until it is not pink anymore.
Add all the spices and the tomato purée and stir well. Mix in the rice and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill the aubergine halves with the stuffing. If you have spare sauce, you can add it into the tray, don’t throw it away!
Add a cup of water to the aubergines. Bake the aubergines at 180ºC for approximately 45 minutes. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley or coriander and serve.
If you are vegetarian, you skip the meat. You can add more rice or some brown lentils.
Do you enjoy aubergines? Let me know in the comments below.