Eggplant with Beef

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Six

    or more servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About

Eggplants are the king (or is it the queen?) of stuffed vegetables. There are a dozen or more techniques for preparing the shells for filling, but this is one of the easiest. The stuffing for this dish may be varied endlessly with the addition of various herbs. Almost all of the sweet herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, and basil, go well with eggplant and so do a multitude of spices, such as oregano and nutmeg. The following is eggplant as a main dish for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized eggplants
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped green pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 pound ground round steak
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée or tomato paste
  • 12 strips bacon

Method

  1. The eggplants should be dark-skinned and shiny. When pressed with the fingers, the feel should be firm.

  2. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil on top of the stove and drop in the eggplants. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the eggplants and, when they are manageable, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out and reserve the pulp, leaving a shell lh inch thick.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Heat the butter and add the onion, garlic, green pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion is wilted. Add the meat and cook, breaking up any lumps with a slotted spoon. Cook until meat loses its red color. Chop the eggplant pulp and add it to the meat. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, and tomato purée.

  5. Fill the prepared shells with the mixture and top each filled shell with 2 strips of bacon. Arrange the shells on a greased baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve hot as a main course with tomato sauce.