What’s cooking today: Mediterranean stuffed aubergines
There’s a relatively small amount of ground beef in this recipe, but you could add a can of drained chickpeas if you prefer.
The tomatoes, peppers and paprika make them sort of Spanish, the ground beef and oregano render them sort of Greek. Let’s just call them Mediterranean.
Mind you, there is also mature Cheddar in them, so I suppose that makes them sort of English, but I would have preferred to have used Manchego, which is Spanish, or perhaps Gruyere; okay, that’s Swiss. You could of course ixnay all of that and use Parmesan, Italy being a Mediterranean country. Oh never mind. Just cook them, they’re great.
3 medium brinjals
200 g lean beef mince (or 1 x 400 g can of chickpeas, drained)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp oregano leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 pimento peppers, 1 yellow and 1 purple, or similar
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Mature Cheddar, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 190℃.
Cut the aubergines (brinjal, eggplant) in half lengthwise. Slice into them with a small sharp knife, in a criss-cross pattern, fairly deep but without piercing the skin. Oil a baking sheet and put the brinjal halves in it, skin side down. Drizzle more olive oil over the top and season them with salt and pepper. Bake for about 45 minutes, then remove them from the oven to cool.
Once they’re in the oven, start making the filling. Sweat the chopped onions and garlic gently in olive oil for about 5 minutes, then crumble the mince in with your fingers so that it does not form clumps, and cook, stirring, until the mince has browned.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, paprika and lemon juice, season with salt and black pepper, stir, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, stirring now and then to avoid catching.
Deseed the sweet peppers and cut them into julienne strips. Stir fry them in olive oil in a pan, tossing, for a couple of minutes until just softened but still crisp. Season with garlic salt and black pepper.
Scoop the flesh out of the brinjals and stir it into the mince. Keep the empty brinjal halves. Have the oven preheated to 200℃.
Fill the brinjal halves equally with the filling. Lay out the julienne peppers on top. Finish with grated Cheddar (or other) cheese and pop them in the oven until they are hot and the cheese has melted. Garnish with oregano sprigs. They’re a light meal in their own right or could be accompanied by a simple salad. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.