Stuffed eggplants or “papoutsakia”


Stuffed eggplants or "papoutsakia"

Lots of pressure at home for this recipe! It all started when my husband listed “papoutsakia” as one of his top favorite foods. I made this dish over the course of two days, or rather evenings. The first evening I prepared the eggplants and the meat stuffing. The second day, I prepare the bechamel, cooked the dish in the oven and served immediately. The amount of time needed to prepare this dish from start to finish is too much to fit in one evening, especially if you come back home at six. But splitting the preparations in two works well.

Recipe

Ingredients

       Eggplants

  • 6 eggplants
  • salt
  • olive oil

       Stuffing

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound minced meat
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salt, pepper for the meat
  • parsley, chopped

       Bechamel

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan

How to make:  1. Cut the stems.  Wash and dry the eggplants.  Cut off a thin layer lengthwise. Now,  cut a narrow opening lengthwise (where you removed a thin layer). Sprinkle the eggplants with salt and let them sit for at least an hour. This will help them drain water. When ready, squeeze them to remove  excessive water, brush  them with olive oil (generously),  place them on a pan -slit side down- and cook for about half an hour in a hot oven (400F/200C). When ready, use a spoon to scoop out any seeds.  

2. Saute the minced meat with the chopped onions until the meat is browned. Add salt, pepper, the diced tomatoes and the chopped basil. Add some water if needed. Cook for about half hour. Make sure that most of the liquid is gone. Fill the cooked eggplants with the meat stuffing.

3. To prepare the bechamel, heat the butter. When it has melted, add the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir vigorously with a whisk. When the flour and butter are combined, start pouring the hot milk. Keep stirring vigorously until you get a nice creamy (but not too runny) consistency. Take the pot off the heat and fold in the two beaten eggs.  Spread the bechamel on top of each eggplant, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

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