Papoutsakia: Greek Stuffed Eggplant / Aubergine

Contains:  Nightshades, dairy, wheat, gluten.     

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato

Delicious stuffed eggplant.

Until I was surfing around in Pinterest, I had no idea that this dish is a “thing”.  Being as I’m a sucker for stuffing food with other foods, here we go!

https://30daysofgreekfood.com/greek-stuffed-eggplant-papoutsakia/ 

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

Roasted eggplant, scored.

 

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

Roasted eggplant, with a bit of the centers removed (and added to the meat sauce)

This is a recipe I wanted to make for my “Greek Month” of February, but never got around to it as I was always missing one ingredient or another, and it looked more intensive than my mood was (for the moment) at.  Finally, before the milk involved goes bad – here we are!  (Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the milk – it’s not something I just drink…)

The source website is indeed a great source of intriguingly good Greek cuisine.  I’m happy to participate in re-creating this recipe, and where I vary, I’ll tell you.  (I am indeed halving the recipe for obvious logistical reasons.  I’m not having company in for it – at least this trial run time – but I WANT to eat this!)

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

The meat sauce.

This can be made with ground (minced) lamb or beef.  I chose lamb as I’d just gotten a half a grass-fed, grass finished lamb from a (once very local to me) farmer into my freezer.

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

Béchamel, prior to removing from heat and adding the cheese.

I went with pecorino cheese, as I have not really worked with it before.

For the béchamel, the milk has to be at least room temperature to prevent clumping when this portion of the dish is prepared.  Béchamel is a sauce I’ve never made before.  This one has a heavier component than traditional French béchamel.

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

Getting ready for oven – meat sauce is stuffed in and on. Then the béchamel will be set over the two halves.

I used additional oregano (in the meat sauce), and used grape tomatoes instead of the regular tomatoes (I had the former here, and don’t really like the latter in off-season). Medium sized eggplants are larger here in the US than apparently in the source country, so I simply halved ingredient amounts while switching the number of eggplants from the original recipe to just one.

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

The eggplant, cooked. Decided this needed browning, so it was set under broil.

I think eggplants near me are larger than the author’s – I used one eggplant, and simply halved the amount of other ingredients, and it worked fine.  Maybe my meat sauce did end up higher – and I cooked it longer to reflect size and height.

At the end I put the dish under broil for two minutes, to brown the béchamel.  I think 60-90 seconds would have brought about a better appearance, but the browning did not burn at two minutes.

Eggplant, recipe, stuffed, Greek, bechamel, lamb, beef, tomato, aubergine

A serving, ready to eat… oh, come here, parsley!

Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 30-60 minutes to allow the eggplant to sit with salt.
Cook Time:35 minutes (cooking meat sauce while eggplants roast) + 10 minutes (bechamel) + 
Rest Time: Not needed.
Serves:  2.
Cuisine:  Greek.
Leftovers?: Yes, reheat in oven.

Papoutsakia:  Greek Stuffed Eggplant / Aubergine

For the Eggplant proper:

  • 1 regular eggplant
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano to taste (I used a LOT).
Preheat oven to 390°F / 200°C.
Trim the top from the eggplant, and cut it in half, lengthwise.
Place the halves into a colander, sprinkling with a little salt.  Set this aside for 30-60 minutes.  This will draw out bitterness.
Now, rinse the halves with water, and dry them with a towel.
With a sharp knife, score the interior flesh, without puncturing the skin, or cutting down to the area of the skin.  Using the oil, brush the skin and flesh.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano over the interior/exposed area of flesh.
Add them to a baking pan lined with parchment paper, cut side down.  Bake 30-40 minutes to soften.  The flesh should be lightly golden.  Pull them out and set aside.

For the Meat Sauce:

  • 0.5 pound 230 g ground beef and/or ground lamb 
  • 1.5 tablespoons high temperature cooking oil (I go for avocado)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 medium fresh tomatoes chopped
  •  7 oz (200 g) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (30 g) parmesan or pecorino cheese,  grated 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt, pepper to taste
While the eggplant roasts, add the oil to a large skillet or pan, and heat to medium.  Add the onion, and allow it to sauté for 5 minutes to soften and turn translucent.  Then add the garlic, stirring both for an additional three minutes.  The lamb (or beef) can be added now, so you can sauté for another 10 minutes.
Now, add tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Turn heat on medium high and simmer here for 20 minutes, allowing most liquid to cook off.
At this point, remove from heat, and add the cheese, mixing it in.
A personal take – I scooped out some of the eggplant innards from the resting eggplant, and mixed them into the meat sauce.  Not so much as to mess with the integrity of its skin, but enough to hollow out the halves.

For the Greek Béchamel Sauce:

  • 0.63 cup /150 ml lukewarm milk
  • 0.25 cup /15g all-purpose flour
  • 0.25 cup /15g butter
  • 1/3 cup /(28g parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg, optional (but I used it)
  • Ground white pepper to taste

In a small pot set to medium low range heat, add butter.  Let it melt (but never burn).  At this point add flour.  Stir continuously for several minutes.  Gradually add allotments of lukewarm milk (2-3 allotments) to this pot, stirring vigorously each time.  Wait for the milk to fully mix in before adding the next allotment.

Once this is all mixed in, remove from the heat, and add nutmeg, cheese, salt and pepper.  Allow the sauce to cool some before adding the egg yolk, to avoid pre-cooking the egg.  Stir until your sauce thickens and it is all combined.

 

To Assemble:

Pre-heat the oven to 355 °F / 180°C. 

Fill each eggplant half with the meat sauce.  Top with béchamel sauce.  Bake in that oven for 30 minutes or until browning occurs.  If it doesn’t brown at this point, broil between 1 to 2 minutes.

Top with freshly chopped parsley, and serve.

Papoutsakia, greek, stuffed eggplant, tomato


Oh, PS:  I decided to freeze the rest of the milk.  I only bought a quart since it isn’t a staple around here, but who knows when I might need/want it?

Linking to:  Full Plate Thursdays, Homestead Blog Hop, Fiesta Friday (with Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons), Farm Fresh Tuesdays, What’s For Dinner – Sunday Link-Up.

 

About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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11 Responses to Papoutsakia: Greek Stuffed Eggplant / Aubergine

  1. Sylia says:

    Wwwo. You’ve just made my whole day. I truly appreciate your kind comment about my blog and my food. I am honored you made my recipe and I really like your personal touch. I will be following your amazing food blog. Keep posting!
    xxx
    Sylia from 30 days of Greek food

  2. Sandhya says:

    Looks delicious!

  3. Anything with melty cheese gets my vote, yum. Thank you for bringing it to FF.

  4. Miz Helen says:

    Eggplant is one of my husbands favorites, he will love this recipe, I will try to make it for him. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday,476.
    Miz Helen

  5. chefkreso says:

    I never prepared a stuffed eggplant, sounds and looks really delicious!

  6. helenfern says:

    I love eggplant – this looks like a great meal! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party! Hope to see you at tomorrow’s party too!

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