Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Baked moussaka eggplants and understanding references

Baked moussaka eggplants / Barquinhas de moussaka

I was listening to an FM radio station weeks ago and when they started playing Katy Perry’s “Roar” it suddenly hit me: her teenage fans don’t understand the references on her song, do they? I don’t think they do because they’re not old enough for that.

I don’t mean to be cranky - I don’t get tons of references either (and it’s pure joy when I do get them). :) It’s just that sometimes we might let something nice go unnoticed because of our lack of reference, which is such a pity. I guess that because of the blog and all these years of reading and being curious about food I immediately felt like making this recipe when I saw it – otherwise I would probably not pay much attention to a dish called “moussaka”.

These stuffed eggplants were a hit at home – my husband and I loved them, and a plus is that they’re easy to make. I replaced the passata called for in the recipe for tomato sauce I’d made the night before (using canned tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, thyme and oregano) and I think that made the dish even tastier.

Baked moussaka eggplants
slightly adapted from the delicious Taste Magazine (I got a digital subscription through

2 small (about 500g total) eggplants, halved lengthways
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
250g beef mince
¼ cup red wine
½ cup tomato passata*
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
50g sourdough, chopped – better if stale
50g grated fresh mozzarella
30g feta, crumbled or grated
basil leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a roasting pan (large enough to hold the 4 eggplant halves side by side) with foil.
Using a sharp knife and a spoon, scoop out the eggplant flesh leaving a 1cm border. Finely chop the flesh. Place the shells on the prepared pan, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until it starts to soften.
In a large saucepan, heat ½ tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for2 minutes or until soft. Stir in the chopped eggplant and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in the garlic, cook until fragrant, then stir in the cinnamon and half the oregano. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the remaining olive oil in the same saucepan. Add the beef and cook until brown. Return onion mixture to the saucepan, stir in wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the passata and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Divide the mixture among the eggplant shells, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. In the meantime, place the bread, cheeses, remaining oregano and olive oil in a small bowl and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the foil, spread the cheese mixture over the eggplant and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until topping is golden. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.

* I’d made tomato sauce (using canned tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, thyme and oregano) the day before and used it instead of the passata

Serves 2

1 comment:

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I love eggplant, these look incredibly delicious!

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