Sephardic jews love to stuff. Vegetables that is. If they can find a way to stuff a vegetable they will stuff it and if they can’t then they will boil it, break it down, mush it up, turn it into a ball then make a hole and stuff it up! I grew up eating stuffed, zucchini, stuffed chicken, stuffed potato, stuffed mashed potato, stuffed eggplant, stuffed artichoke, stuffed capsicum, you get the picture... I am definitely a fan of stuffed veggies and I have made all of the above. And when I entertained they were a big hit, except with my kids, they didn’t really take to the stuffed stuff, so I haven’t made any in a loooooong time!
When the virus restrictions were lifted and we were allowed to visit with only two people, my sister and I made plans to have shabbat dinner at her house, with only me and my partner going (a bit sad) but I knew what to make! Stuffed eggplant! (It’s not exactly stuffed, because you don’t have to scoop the flesh out, you actually put the meat on top, but we still call it stuffed eggplant, that’s how much we like the idea that something is stuffed).
We both love eggplant and both love Middle-Eastern spices, and without my fussy kids coming (her children are not fussy) it was the perfect meal to make. You could taste the exotic fusion of spices mixed in the meat and texture of the eggplant and tahini is a real delight! All I can say is YUMBO! You have to make it to know what I’m talking about, people, it’s filling and satisfying, and if you are an eggplant lover, you can’t pass this dish up.
Ingredients For the eggplants
2 eggplants, medium, each weighs about 450-500g each
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the meat
500g minced beef
1/4-1/2 cup beef stock (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 large purple onion diced
6 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt according to taste
3 tablespoons sultanas
2 handfuls of finely chopped continental parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 a cup of cooked rice (cooked in beef stock)
Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
Cut each eggplant in half, lengthways and brush or rub oil all over, sprinkle with salt.
Place eggplant cut side facing up, on a baking tray lined with baking paper. After 30 min reduce the heat to 180c and roast for another 20 min or until golden brown.
In a small bowl, mix paprika, all spice coriander, cumin, cinnamon and salt, set aside.
Fry diced onion until it starts to turn golden in colour. Add minced garlic and stir for another min.
Add minced meat and give it a good stirring. Stir in the spices you set aside.
Throw in the sultanas, chopped parsley and mint and give it a good stir.
Add the 1/2 a cup of the rice you cooked in beef stock and stir through.
I like to add beef stock to the mixture so it’s nice and moist, I add anywhere from 1/4 of beef stock to 1/2 a cup. You don’t want it to be sitting in stock just nice and moist, so just add a little at a time and taste the mixture to see if it’s to your liking.
I used pistachio nuts, tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds, but you can use whatever you like.
Place eggplant on a serving dish and spoon meat and rice mixture evenly on top of eggplants.
Sprinkle with nuts and pomegranate seeds and drizzle tahini sauce on top.
PS - I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!