Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Roasted and Stuffed Eggplant #BloggerCLUE


Roasted eggplant filled with a deliciously flavorful stuffing of ground beef, brown rice, olives, artichoke hearts, sunflower seeds and salty Parmesan, is topped with more cheese then baked to golden perfection. This is a great main course that is as attractive as it is tasty.

It’s Blogger C.L.U.E. Society time again and my secretly assigned blog is annaDishes! Anna lives in Florida so her blog is full of lovely fresh recipes with locally grown produce. Our challenge this month was to hunt for and make a recipe that our own grandmothers might have made. While my grandmothers never stuffed eggplant that I am aware off, they certainly did stuff and roast bell peppers – my mom still does so with regularity – and spicy eggplant casserole was a favorite dish whenever we were visiting. I am pretty sure both of my grandmothers would have loved this dish. Aside from the addition of some red pepper and an unavoidable cheese substitution, I’ve made it pretty much exactly as Anna wrote it in her original post, which you can see here. I’ve noted any changes in parentheses and added the metric measures for my readers who use them.

Ingredients
1 cup (dry) or 215g brown rice
2 cups or 480ml chicken broth
1 large eggplant (I used two – weighing 1 1/2 lbs or 665g together)
1 package baby bella mushrooms (One large portabella – weighing 3 1/5 oz or 100g)
1 small onion, chopped (Mine weighed 3 1/2 oz or 100g.)
1/4 cup or 60g kalamata olives, chopped (Mine had pits. Weight before pitting: 3 oz or 85g)
3/4 lb or 340g ground beef
3/4 cup or 110g sunflower seeds
1/2 cup or 100g artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup, grated, or 70g Parmesan cheese (I grated from a fresh wedge of Parmesan so the weight measure is probably more accurate than the cup.)
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used 3 1/2 oz or 100g Colby Jack.)
Shredded Gouda cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
(I also added 2 teaspoons crushed red chilies and a few fresh thyme leaves for color when serving.)

Method
First start the rice: Bring the rice and chicken stock to a boil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. (I stir in the rice in the olive oil first to coat, then add in the stock.)



Reduce to low and cover. Cook rice over low heat for 55 minutes or until tender. (Mine took about 40 minutes, at which point I turned the fire off but left the cover on so the rice could steam gently until I was ready to use it. Then I fluffed it with a fork.)



Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Hollow out the eggplant making sure to leave 1/4 inch or a little more than 1/2cm on all sides. If the walls are too thin they won’t hold up with the stuffing.

Drizzle the baking dish with olive oil and place eggplant halves in center. Drizzle olive oil on eggplant.



 Roast in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until cooked but not too soft.

Here they are roasted.


While the eggplant shells are cooking, chop 1/2 of the meat from the eggplant. (I used all of it.)

Eggplant, olives, artichoke hearts, onion, garlic and mushroom.
Combine the eggplant with onion, mushroom, olives, artichokes and sauté in pan until browned. (I also added a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.)
This is the "after" shot. The pan was almost full when I started but the vegetables cook down considerably. 

Remove from heat and set aside. In another pan, brown the ground beef until cooked through. (Once again, with a drizzle of olive oil for the pan.)

Combine all ingredients in one bowl. Add rice, sunflower seeds and Parmesan cheese.



(Taste your stuffing and add salt and pepper to taste. This is also where I added the crushed red chilies – since we like things spicy. Stir well!)



Transfer a large portion of the stuffing to each 1/2 of the eggplant. (I had stuffing leftover but that is a good thing. It’s delicious just on its own too.)



Cover with cheese and place in oven for 15 minutes.

Turn on broiler to brown the top.



Enjoy! I served each person a whole stuffed eggplant, sprinkled with a little fresh thyme, along with a green salad.



If you’d like to see more of annaDishes, you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest or like her blog page on Facebook.



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Many thanks to Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, Kate from Kate's Kitchen and Christiane from Taking on Magazines for creating this fun challenge.

Here's a link list to all of the intrepid blog detectives in our group! Follow the links to see which blogs they were assigned and the recipes that their grandmothers might have made.

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