Friday, July 26, 2013

Stuffed Eggplant

Having enough fresh-picked ingredients for a recipe like this is almost enough to make me like summertime (if it wasn’t so dadgum hot, buggy, and humid!)  But at least the sun is shining today!   We’ve had nothing but rain here for about 3 months now . . . we need to dry out!   Home-grown eggplant are so tender you can even eat the skins (if they get too old, like the ones in grocery stores, the skins get tough and bitter.)  This recipe serves 6-8 people.
Stuffed Eggplant

3 medium or 2 large eggplants
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 large banana peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow squash, coarsely chopped
½ cup chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
good dash of sea salt
2 large plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 oz. low-fat cream cheese
2 tbl. Parmesan cheese
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp. crushed red peppers (optional – we like a little bite to some things)

·         peel the green leaves off the top of each eggplant and discard
·         cut each eggplant in half length-wise
·         score the meat inside the eggplant and scoop out, leaving about 1/4” just inside the skins, and reserve the meat for later use
·         lightly brush the inside of each scooped out eggplant with the olive oil
·         place the eggplant upside down (skin side up) on a baking sheet, then brush the skins with olive oil
·         Heat the oven to 350°
·         Bake the eggplant for about 20 minutes (do this before stuffing! just to get the skins tender), remove from oven and let cool while you make the stuffing
·         Coarsley chop the eggplant meat and place in a bowl
·         In a large, deep skillet add ¼ cup plus 1 tbl. of olive oil and heat over medium until hot
·         Add the garlic, eggplant, bell pepper and banana peppers to the oil and sautĂ© for 4 minutes, stirring often
·         Add the zucchini, yellow squash, chicken broth, black pepper and salt, and increase heat to medium-high
·         Cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, until squash is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated
·         Add the tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes, then remove pan from the heat
·         Add cream cheese to the pan and continue stirring (no heat) until the cheese is melted
·         Add the Parmesan cheese and mix well, then add the bread crumbs and mix well again
·         Add the crushed red pepper and stir in well
·         Remove stuffing from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes
·         Spoon the stuffing into each eggplant skin until over-full      and top off with a little more Parmesan cheese
·         Just before baking, drizzle a little olive oil (very lightly) over the top of each stuffed eggplant
·         Bake at 350° for 45 minutes
Eggplant fresh from our garden.

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