GREEK STYLE VEGETARIAN STUFFED EGGPLANT: MELITZANES PAPOUTSAKIA
- 2 eggplants
- 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 5 small Portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes, or grated fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 cup garbanzo beans/chick peas
- 6 Kalamata olives, sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- about 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- about 2 cups cubed feta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, 260 degrees Celsius.
- Slice eggplant in half, lengthwise and scoop out the pulp leaving 1/4 inch border all around. Set the pulp aside in a bowl to use in the sauce.
- Brush inside and outside with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place on a baking tray lined with foil.
- Bake in the oven for 6-7 minutes. Set the oven to the broil setting. Broil the eggplant on the middle rack for about 6 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, 204 degrees Celsius.
- Place the potato slices in a 9 by 13 inch baking tray. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over them and season with salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Leave the oven on at 400 degrees.
- To make the sauce, combine the onions, garlic, and olive oil in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Stir often and reduce the heat if the onions and garlic begin to brown too fast. Smash the garlic with a wooden cooking spoon.
- Add the chopped mushrooms to the pot and cook over high heat about 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Add the eggplant pulp and cook for 3-4 minutes, mixing so that it does not burn. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Mix in the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and 1.4 cup water. Cook 20-25 minutes on medium heat and mixing often. Add some more water if necessary. The sauce is ready when the eggplant is soft and breaks down to create a thick, rich sauce. If after 25 minutes there is too much liquid in the pot, increase the heat to high and cook while stirring until it thickens.
- Stir in the sliced olives and chick peas with the parsley. Taste seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Place the eggplants over the baked potato slices.
- Crumble some feta and place inside each eggplant. Distribute the sauce evenly into each eggplant and tp with the remaining crumbled feta cheese.
- Bake in the center rack for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake 15 more minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with salad and toasted hearty bread.
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