Monday, August 27, 2012

The Glorious Eggplant - Batinjan wa Mafrouma

Eggplant with Ground Beef and Chick Peas 

Stuffed Eggplant, Image courtesy of "Saudi Life"
Time: 2 hours | Complexity: Moderately hard | Yields: 4-5 servings |
Tools: 2-quart saucepan, 9-inch skillet, heat proof serving dish, food chopper, knife, bowl

I recommend small organic purple eggplant for this dish. Buy eggplants with no bruises or breaks in the skin, and getting the freshest is always best. I like to pressure cook my chick peas and keep them in a jar in lightly salted water in the cooler, but canned will work as well with this recipe. A great tip to remove the flavor of canned vegetables is to cook the chick peas on high with the jalapeno pepper for a few minutes before adding the rest of the spices and other ingredients.

  • 3 pounds small eggplants, washed
  • 1 pound lean grass fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas cooked (dried and pressure cooked is best)
  • 1 green chili (Jalapeno)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • Directions
1. Cut most of the top green part of the eggplants, leaving just the tip of the stem. Divide each eggplant lengthwise in two, sprinkle with salt and leave aside to sweat. In a 1-quart pan on medium-high heat add chickpeas, cover 1 inch above chickpeas with water, add pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, drain.
2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onions and garlic. cook until tender. Add allspice, cinnamon and cumin. Mix, and remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl add contents of skillet. In the same skillet add meat. Cook until no longer pink, drain and add to bowl as well. Add chickpeas into bowl.
3. In the same skillet on medium-high heat add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Place eggplants cut side down. Allow to cook until insides are soft and the bottom is brown adding a tablespoon of oil between new batches. About 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
4. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Scoop insides of eggplant onto a cutting board and chop. Add to bowl. Add tomato sauce and mix together. In a baking dish place eggplants skin down and carefully scoop meat mixture into eggplants. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with: Rice, samboosa, soup

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