Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spicy Stuffed Eggplant

Aubergine, eggplant: whatever you call it, I love it! It's much more versatile than your run-of-the-mill eggplant parmesan, which is what I tried to highlight in this riff on a really traditional recipe. Stuffed eggplant is popular in both Moroccan and Greek cooking, and it's a fantastically filling grain-free recipe, keeping this beefy meal virtually guilt-free.

I used up the remaining ground beef from our Taco Tuesday; since there's only two of us (the little one isn't up to eating tacos yet!), we generally use 1/2 of the beef in a pack per meal, so this is a great way to use it all up without having two dinners that are really similar.

I chose to go the Moroccan route with my flavor profile, adding harissa paste to the veggie & meat mixture. But, if you're not a fan of the taste of harissa, feel free to sub in sriracha or your favorite hot sauce. If you're not using harissa, omit the cinnamon, as it might not work well otherwise. But if you do add the harissa, you're going to love how the cinnamon works in this dish! It's not just for baking, trust me! I would've garnished it with chopped parsley, but mine got infested with aphids or something so I chucked it outside and I'm too afraid of bugs to investigate it any further. I'm such a wimp; I love gardening, but the minute I have to touch a bug, I'm done. 

As a side dish, I cooked up some beet greens (which are chock full of great vitamins like B6) with a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, and a little of our fantastic local butter. You essentially can cook them just like spinach, swiss chard, or your other favorite greens. They even can bake in the oven like kale chips, so don't toss your beet greens next time you get some! Mine were quite wilted after spending a few days in the fridge, but they were still in perfect cooking condition, so don't let a limp bunch deter you as long as they're nice and green and dry.

A little greek yogurt with a tiny bit of harissa mixed in is a great cooling sauce for the eggplant, but if you're like me and mix everything on the plate together as you eat, it tastes great on the beet greens, too!