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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stuffed Eggplant

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
This recipe is from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson. It's one of my favorite new cookbooks. The recipes are so varied — from matzoth ball soup to Asian Kedgeree. Lots of sinfully rich home-style desserts, as well as some recipes with international influences, like this recipe for stuffed eggplant, which has both Greek and Italian flavors.

Ingredients for sauce
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons EVOO
4 eggplants 4-5 pounds total
olive oil for brushing on eggplant

Ingredients for filling
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup rough chopped pistachio nuts
7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 clove minced garlic
2 chopped scallions
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 egg
Pinch cinnamon

Ingredients for topping
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch dried oregano

In the food processor, pulse the onion, garlic, and dried oregano to a pulp. Cook in a deep saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat till soft, about 7 minutes. Add chopped tomato and sugar, stir well and cover. Turn down heat and let cook for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the EVOO and take off the heat. Keep covered till ready to use. Next, cut the eggplant, skin on, into thin slices lengthways. Brush with olive oil and cook on the grill till golden. All this can be done ahead of time.

To make filling, put bulgur what and oregano into bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 20-30 minutes, till wheat is tender. When wheat is tender, pour into strainer and press down to remove any extra water. To cooled bulgur wheat add 3/4 of the chopped pistachio, the crumbled feta, minced garlic, scallions, and capers. Stir to mix, being gentle not to turn mixture to mush. Beat egg with cinnamon and gently add this to bulgur mixture.

Now preheat your oven to 375 and oil your oven-proof baking dish and get ready to assemble. Take one piece of eggplant and add a dollop of the stuffing and roll up the length of the eggplant. Repeat with all the eggplant pieces. Place in your baking dish and pour tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle with remaining Feta cheese, olive oil and oregano. Bake for 30 minutes and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Scatter with remaining pistachio nuts before serving. This serves 4 as main course — 3 rolls each.