Sunday, July 10, 2016

Stuffed Baby Eggplants (serves 5-6)

stuffed baby eggplants
I have not been to Haymarket (in Boston) for many years. It has changed quite a bit since I have been there last. In the past the vendors had terrible reputations. They yell at you if you try to touch their fruits or vegetables. They never let you pick out your own produce. They often give you their worst items--the ones that are mostly rotted or bruised. When you get home most of the items were inedible. I rarely frequented the market mainly for that reason. Why give someone my business if he/she has bad manners and is dishonest? As my husband would say, 'you'd only reinforce their negative behaviors!' Fortunately over the last few years I noticed that there were more positive changes--more ethnic (Hispanic and Asian) vendors and they are a lot friendlier, more business oriented and selling items that I need or want to buy. Most of these vendors will happily take your money, give you a bag and let you pick your items. Recently I purchased some baby eggplants that looked like they were just harvested from a farm. I purchased 2 pounds but had no idea what to make! I thought about stuffing them similar to Esther's Inspired Stuffed Peppers. However, I decide to stuff them in another way using some herbs that I have growing in my garden and the dried tomatoes that my husband brought home from his recent business trip to Rome (Italy). Here are my tasty stuffed baby eggplants--great with steamed rice!

baby eggplants
stuffed baby eggplants--ready to be cooked
Stuffed Baby Eggplants (serves 5-6)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup sliced or chopped dried tomato (about 3 whole dried)
1.3 lbs ground turkey (or another meat of your choice)
2 fresh tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/3 cup diced with seeds)
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano (about 2 Tbsp chopped)
1 tsp chicken broth powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed sea salt
2 lbs baby eggplants, washed, quartered but leave about 1/4 of the base intact
2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
8 oz feta cheese, diced

Method:

1) Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add oil.
2) Once the oil is got add onions, scallions, dried tomatoes. Saute about 2 minutes.
3) Add turkey. Break into small pieces and cook about a minute. Turn off heat and add fresh tomatoes, oregano, chicken broth, pepper, and salt. Stir well. Keep the pan over the hot stove.
4) Quartered the eggplants nearly to the base. Try to leave about 1/4 of the base intact so the eggplants will still be whole--resembling a flower.
5) Stuff each eggplant with as much of the stuffing as possible.
6) Line the stuffed eggplants in a large pot. Pour the rest of the stuffing over the eggplants. Add water or broth. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top. Cook over the stove top over medium high. Once the liquid comes to a boil, cover the pot, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for about 1 hour or until the eggplants are soft to your liking. At the last 10 minutes of cooking remove the cover. Let the liquid reduce a little.

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