So the other day I was shopping in Rouses Market and, while perusing their ready-made meals, I saw sausage stuffed eggplant. It looked delicious! Since we have an abundance of eggplant in the summer garden, I thought I'd try to make some myself. So I got on ye olde internets when I returned home and found this recipe, which sounded pretty yummy. I had a quite a few veggies (from the garden and grocery) and cheeses in the fridge that needed to be used before they went bad; I decided to incorporate them into the dish. Also, we really love the pork up in this house, so I doubled the sausage. (SIDE NOTE: This reminds me of a story from this past weekend's trip to NOLA. As my friend and I were walking down Royal Street, there was a guy in front of the Supreme Court with a pot-bellied pig in a shopping cart. My friend was all, "OH! Look! A piggy. Let's go back and talk to the weird guy and pet the cute pig in a shopping cart." And I was all, "NO! a) I do not like weird guys when I am sober and b) I do not like pigs unless they are served on a plate, preferably in the form of bacon or sausage." The end.)
The end result of all this was one hella delicious eggplant dish. Since this recipe involved quite a bit of "Eh. Why not?" the amounts are approximates. If you decide to make this dish, you can modify it as you see fit.
Sausage Stuffed Eggplant:
Eggplant, halved lengthwise (I used 3 from my garden; they tend to be A LOT smaller than the grocery store version so I ended up with about 2 cups of leftover stuffing. If you're using grocery store eggplant, I'd get 2. Maybe 3. Good luck with all that.)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (I really have no idea about this. I just poured some into a pan until it looked like enough. But recipes like tablespoons, so I'm going with that. It's called science. Not.)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (These were sitting in the fridge. We also had two tiny ones from the garden so I threw those in, too. That came out to maybe 2 tablespoons, so I don't think you need 4 tomatoes. But hey, if you're a tomato lover, you just might.)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I used 4, but we love garlic.)
2 small bell peppers, finely chopped (I used my garden peppers which, again, tend to be quite a bit smaller than the grocery store version. You could probably go with one decent sized one from the grocery.)
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped (This was in the fridge, so I decided to throw it in. If I'd had it, I would have chopped up a medium yellow onion. Do with that info as you'd like. I never claimed to be Julia Child.)
Salt and pepper
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (I can never find this in the groceries in Lafayette, so I just get the links, uncase them, and tear them up.)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
*1/4 cup Romano cheese
*1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
*1 cup mozzarella cheese (* The cheese amounts are very approximate. I just threw in what looked like a good amount for us. Adjust it to your taste...or don't. Hell fire, people! I'm not a food scientist. Have a glass of wine and roll with the recipe punches.)
1 cup spaghetti sauce (Whatever kind you like. I'm a fan of the Paul Newman sauces, so I used a cup of his sweet onion sauce. If you make your own spaghetti sauce, that would be delicious in this. Also, I hate you.)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the eggplant cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, sprinkle them with some kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. (That's me being a food snob; you can just sprinkle with some Morton's salt and McCormick black pepper from the can, and the world will not explode...or so I've been told.)
3. Shove the baking pan in the oven and roast the eggplant for 30 minutes (or so...until they look yummy and, when you poke them with your finger, they're soft. So technical, I know.)
4. While the eggplant are roasting, chop up all your veggies and get your olive oil into a skillet. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat, throw in the veggies and saute until wilted. (I am NOT a fan of crunchy veggies in anything but a salad, so I usually go for broke on this and REALLY saute them down.) Toss in the sausage and brown. Drain off the grease.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Throw in the beaten eggs (This is why I allowed it to cool. I have a phobia about mixing beaten egg into hot things and ending up with scrambled egg), breadcrumbs, cheeses, and spaghetti sauce. Mix it.
6. At this point your eggplant should have come out of the oven, and you've been letting it cool. If not, do that now. When they are cool enough to handle, scoop out the meat out into a bowl. Don't go berserk. You want to leave enough meat in them so that they retain their shape. Now you have little eggplant shells. Yay! Using a fork and knife, mash and slice it up in the bowl. (More technical stuff, I know.)
7. Fold the eggplant meat into the sausage mixture. (This is your stuffing, in case you didn't know. And I'm about to use the word stuffing, so I thought you should know.)
8. Spoon the stuffing into the eggplant shells. Sprinkle with some more cheese. (I sprinkled with all three because I had it. The original recipe calls for just mozzarella. But I love cheese. More cheese FOREVAH!)
9. Place back into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until heated through and the cheese is all yummy and bubbly and brown. (I should note that I turned the oven back to 350 degrees when I took the eggplant out. I don't know if you need to do that. I just like 350 degrees. Maybe I have OCD.) Pick the cheese that fell off of the eggplant and melted on the baking sheet, making crunchy yummy cheese thingies, and eat them. Wait. That's just me. What was I saying? Oh! Yeah. Okay, now it's all done. Serve it.
10. You can warm some more spaghetti sauce to serve with it, as the original recipe called for, or you can do what I did. Which is to forget that part, and just hoover down the delicious end product. It worked for me.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010