Stuffed Eggplant

See the RecipeAndré Baranowski

Briefly frying the eggplants for this classic dish softens their flesh, making them easier to stuff.

Stuffed Eggplant
Briefly frying the eggplants for this classic dish softens their flesh, making them easier to stuff.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 6 Japanese eggplants (about 2 lbs.), ends trimmed
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 12 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 12 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 14 cup chopped mint leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour oil into a 12" skillet to a depth of 1⁄2". Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering and very hot. Working in 2 batches, fry eggplants, turning occasionally, until softened, 6–8 minutes per batch. Transfer eggplants to paper towels to let drain; discard oil and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until lamb is browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cinnamon, garlic, onions, and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they're soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the parsley and mint and season with salt and pepper. Remove skillet from heat and set lamb filling aside.
  3. Heat oven to 475°. Halve reserved eggplants crosswise to make 12 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, cut a lengthwise, 1⁄4"-deep incision in the eggplant to make a pocket (be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom). Lightly season inside of each eggplant pocket with salt and pepper and spoon about 1⁄4 cup lamb filling into it, pressing filling lightly into pocket.
  4. Arrange stuffed eggplants in a 9" x 13" baking dish and bake until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.