From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple recipe is for a stuffed eggplant dish that is both inexpensive to make and delicious to eat. The ingredients needed to prepare it are readily available and I think you'll be able to find the Grapenuts in the cereal aisle of your grocery store. Just be sure to get the original cereal rather than the newer flaked variety. The nut-like morsels of the original give some texture to the soft filling while also helping to absorb excess moisture in the stuffing. This is a very old recipe that was published back in 1969 in The New McCall's Cook Book. I still have my dogeared copy of the book and while many of the recipes it contains have been eclipsed by time, this is one that those of you with gardens might want to try this summer. It is easy to follow and the minimal cost of its ingredients make it a perfect candidate for a Frugal Friday feature. I've pretty much kept with the original recipe, save for the omission of a 1/4 cup of butter that was used in the breadcrumb topping. Delicious, but verboten these days. I do hope you'll give it a try. Here is how this version of stuffed eggplant is made.
Stuffed Eggplant Creole...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of McCall's magazine (1996)
2 small eggplants (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
1/2 pound ground beef
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 (14.5-oz.) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup Grapenuts
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1) Wash eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Add along with 1/2 teaspoon salt to a large pan containing 1-inch of boiling water. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully scoop out pulp from eggplant halves, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Dice pulp. Set pulp and hollowed shells aside.
3) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until it shimmers. Add ground beef and garlic and cook until beef is browned. Add onions, green pepper and celery and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.
4) Stir in undrained tomatoes, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, thyme and Tabasco sauce. Remove pan from heat. Add diced eggplant and Grapenuts. Mix well.
5) Spoon mixture into eggplant shells. Place shells in a shallow baking pan. Combine crumbs with remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle crumbs over stuffed eggplants.
6) Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Yield: 4 servings.
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