giant eggplants stuffed with rice,chard and tomatoes
Growing food at home is an amazing thing. Unfortunately, when you live in a condo in the city, your options for balcony growing are limited to herbs, tomatoes and the occasional hot pepper. But, when you have amazing friends in the 'burbs who grow everything you can imagine, sometimes you're lucky enough to get a delivery of delicious, home grown, organic vegetables right to your door.
Our friends, Rob & Andrea, were nice enough to give us two absolutely huge eggplants, along with a number of other vegetables. Stuffing eggplants is a great way to use them up, especially when they're just too huge to do anything else with. It's also a great use for leftover rice.
I halved them and stuffed one with this vegetarian filling, and added ground beef to the other.
2 large italian eggplants
leftover rice (the amount depends on the size of your eggplants. I used three cups of cooked, golden basmati rice to stuff these giants)
1 onion - minced
3 cloves garlic - minced
4-5 large chard leaves - washed and chopped
4-5 chard stems - washed and diced
1 cup of chopped tomato
2 tbsp mixed herbs - chopped (I used oregano, thyme and chives)
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground clove
pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 egg - lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1. wash and dry eggplants. split in half, remove the flesh, cut flesh into small pieces and set aside. make sure to not pierce or slice through the skin.
2. over medium high, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add eggplant flesh. season with salt, pepper and a pinch of clove. Add vinegar and cook until tender but not mushy. remove and set aside.
3. to the same skillet, add a touch of oil and sautée chard stems, onion, garlic and chilli flakes until onions are translucent - 1 minute
4. add chopped chard leaves, tomatoes and white wine. cook until chard is tender and wine is almost all absorbed
5. add cooked rice and spices and previously cooked eggplant. stir to combine. remove from heat and add chopped herbs. taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
6. preheat oven to 400°
6. place eggplant halves on a parchment lined baking sheet. brush insides with a little bit of olive oil
7. gently mix beaten egg into rice filling until just combined
8. spoon rice filling into eggplant halves, filling them up completely - don't be afraid to mound them up! dot the tops with a little butter.
9. bake for 1 hour, or until eggplant is tender when pierced with a sharp knife or skewer.
We cut ours into thirds and ate them by themselves but you could serve yours with a dollop of sour cream if you felt like it :)
NOTE: when adding ground meat, I add it between steps 2 and 3 - cooking until the meat is browned and seasoning with salt and pepper.