Greek Style Stuffed Baby Eggplant


I love when I stumble upon an ingredient that makes me smile. Yep. Just the sight of these gorgeous little purple gems brought a broad smile to my lips. Diamonds for some women, baby eggplants for me. The grin remained as I was picking out the eggplants that would come home with me. It was still there two days later as I thought about what I would make with them.
Baby Eggplant
I knew that whatever I made with them, I had to keep the beautiful shape in tact. Picking the recipe was heavily influenced by some gorgeous red peppers that I had roasted a few days ago. Eggplant and peppers?  Ground lamb… the vision was coming together! The kids were going to love picking up the stuffed eggplant boat-like figures by the stem. I smiled again thinking how much fun would it be to play with the baked baby eggplant!

Option 1: Score eggplant
Scoop out scored cubes

Option 2: Run knife around the perimeter 

Scoop out with a spoon
Sprinkle with salt and place (cut side down) on a paper towel lined baking sheet

Liquid releasing from the salted baby eggplant.
So glad to be able to capture the contrast!
Toss with olive oil, kosher salt & pepper.
Bake, cut side down, at 500 degrees for about 12 minutes.
Add spinach to hot & oiled skillet. Turn off skillet and toss to gently wilt.
Cook couscous and plate. Top with sauteed spinach.
Back to the skillet, add ground lamb and begin to brown.
When the lamb has started to brown, add diced eggplant and onions (not pictured).
Ah, so pretty. Eggplant, onions and lamb.
Add mint and toss.
Loving the steam coming off of the skillet!!
Place baby eggplant on spinach and stuff with lamb mixture. 
Top with roasted peppers and feta.
Sooooo yummy!
I just couldn’t help myself. Last one. Promise.

Greek Style Stuffed Baby Eggplant

Serves 4 as an entree; 8 as a side dish
Adapted from epicurious.com

Ingredients

8 baby eggplants
kosher salt
3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground lamb
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
6 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup roasted peppers, diced
3/4 cup crumbled feta



Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven.

1. Halve the eggplants lengthwise, score their pulp deeply with a sharp knife, being careful not to pierce the skins and, with a spoon, scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/2 inch thick shells. Cut the pulp into a small dice and reserve in a paper towel lined bowl.
2. Sprinkle the shells with kosher salt and invert them on paper towels to drain for 15 to 30 minutes. 
3. Sprinkle reserved pulp with kosher salt. Toss and let them sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
4. Toss the eggplant shells with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 12 minutes, or until skin is soft and cut side is lightly browned.
5. Bring chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a boil. Stir in couscous and simmer, uncovered for 6 minutes. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread couscous on a large serving platter.
6. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add spinach and turn off the heat. Using tongs, gently flip the spinach until it has all slightly wilted. Plate over the cooling couscous.
7. Place the eggplant shells in a circle on the spinach.
8. Heat the same skillet. Add ground lamb, breaking it apart. 
9. Saute lamb until some color still remains. Add onion, garlic and reserved diced eggplant.   Saute until meat loses all color and the eggplant and onions are tender. 
10. Remove the skillet from heat, stir in mint. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste (remember that you’re about to add feta!!!).
11. Divide the filling among the shells, mounding it. There will be some leftover filling. 
12. Sprinkle with roasted peppers, feta and chopped mint.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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