Gourmet Veggie Mama

Lebanese-style stuffed eggplant

I pinned a recipe for stuffed eggplant a while back, thinking that, one of these days, when I had the right ingredients on hand, I could vegetarianize it. Last weekend at the farmer’s market, I ran across some gorgeous baby eggplant, so, naturally, I couldn’t resist.

Get stuffed.

Since the hubby had also seen fit to purchase, butcher*, and grill a guinea fowl for dinner, we decided to just cook the whole meal on the grill. We started off with some grilled shishito peppers and a young gouda cheese, both of which we also picked up at the farmer’s market that morning.

* Don’t ask. I’d rather I didn’t know the details, really.

Don’t mind if I do.

Shishito peppers are similar to my all-time favorites, padron peppers, but they seem to be much more common here. The best way to enjoy them is blistered in a cast-iron skillet on the grill, sprinkled with some coarse salt, and drizzled with olive oil and a smidge of good-quality balsamic vinegar.

For dinner, I stuffed the eggplant with a mixture of grains, sauteed onions and garlic, toasted pine nuts, and spices, and simmered them in tomato sauce.

Oh yeah.

The result was delicious, although I think the cooking would have been a bit more precise and even on the stovetop rather than the grill. Regardless, it was a lovely evening, and you cook outside when it’s that nice. Or at least, I do.

We rounded out the meal with some grilled purple potatoes and a simple tomato and cucumber salad. What a lovely way to spend an evening!

Lebanese-Style Stuffed Eggplant
Inspired by this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

6 (5- to 6-inch long) baby eggplants
3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups farro or mixed grains**
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes in juice***
1 tsp ground allspice
3 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

Hollow out each eggplant with a melon-baller, working from the bottom end and leaving about 1/3 inch of flesh along the interior walls.

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and add the grains. Cook according to package directions, or until the grains are tender and the liquid is absorbed.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pine nuts, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then transfer them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the pine nuts and stir in the cooked grains. Add the allspice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Add the tomatoes or sauce to the skillet, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, stuff the eggplant with the grains mixture, being careful not to pack too tightly. Transfer the stuffed eggplants to the skillet with tomato sauce and simmer, covered, carefully turning once, until the eggplant is very tender, 50 minutes to an hour. Serve topped with the tomato sauce from the pan, plus an extra sprinkling of parsley.

** I used a 5-grain mix from Central Market, and it worked beautifully.

** You can also use fresh chopped tomatoes, or homemade tomato sauce instead. I had just finished a batch of tomato sauce to can, and had enough left over to serve perfectly here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 Thoughts on “Lebanese-style stuffed eggplant

  1. Wow this sounds good. I think I’ll try Israeli couscous instead of the grains and maybe not use tomato sauce, maybe just olive oil with peas, onions, garlic…

    Sorry that poor animal had to die.

    • Ooh, I think that would be delicious! You’ll probably want to add something to the pan to sub for the tomato sauce so it stays nice and moist and steams the eggplant — maybe veggie broth?

  2. Ugh. I WON’T ask. But I won’t say you haven’t made me curious. In a gross-grim sort of way. OTHER than that, the meal looks glorious.

  3. That recipe sounds wonderful, I might have to give it a try.
    I think self-butchering is big these days, I’ve seen a number of articles popping up and even a few classes being offered on it. Not really on my list of things to do, but way to go to your husband for getting up close and personal with his meal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Post Navigation