First, it was damn hot this summer and despite the dry heat, cooking in a kitchen with no AC is madness. Second, I live for the beach, tanning, listening to my music, long walks on the beach and of course swimming. Living in Canada, one takes advantage of the dry Mediterranean climate and the warm waters of the Aegean. To bad – so sad lil’ kitchen.
The times that I did cook inside were the odd day that it was overcast or on the two mornings that in rained.
These stuffed eggplants are translated from Greek to mean “little shoes” as that’s what the finished product looks like.
6-8 small to medium eggplants, halved
1lb of extra lean ground beef
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 large onions, diced
3 bay leaves
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of plum tomatoes, pureed (or Pomodoro)
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp dried basil
3 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 recipe for Bechamel Sauce
1 cup grated Kefalotiri cheese
- Wash and dry the eggplants, trim off the stems and cut in half, lengthwise. With a small spoon, scoop out the meat without breaking the skins (start at the centre with the seeds and then work carefully around. Discard the seeds and reserve the pulp. Drizzle the eggplant halves with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. Place in a preheated 400F oven(middle rack) for 30-40 minutes or until firm. Reserve.
- Start making your filling. In a heavy sauce pan, saute your onions, garlic, bay leaves, some salt for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Now add your eggplant pulp and saute for another 5 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and and saute until browned. Add your wine, tomato sauce, oregano, parsley, dried basil and simmer until thick. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. In about 30-45 minutes you should have a thick sauce. Stir in your cinnamon and set aside.
- Make your Bechamel Sauce and reserve .
- You should have your eggplant halves in a roasting pan. Sprinkle some cheese on the bottoms, then spoon in the meat sauce into each cavity. Now spoon the bechamel sauce over the meat sauce and top with grated cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for approx. 30 minutes. The tops should be a nice golden-brown.
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