Eggplant is a foreign food to me. I’ve only cooked with it once before when I made eggplant parmesan a long time back. They looked so irresistible today at Costco — so purple and shiny without a single flaw. I added a $5 rotisserie chicken, mini heirloom tomatoes and mini bell peppers to my cart and knew I’d be able to throw something together.
I made stuffed eggplant almost like a meatball recipe. They turned out flavorful and not too soggy, thanks to a quick technique inspired by America’s Test Kitchen.
Chicken Stuffed Eggplant
2 medium eggplants, sliced down the middle
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 mini orange and yellow bell peppers, chopped fine
1/2 stalk celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tin of anchovies, minced (about 3 filets)
1/2 cup cooked chicken, diced
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbs. Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Carefully scoop out the flesh of your eggplants without breaking the skin. Chop the flesh into small pieces. Lightly salt the flesh and hollowed out eggplants. Place eggplant shells in a foil-lined casserole dish and set aside.
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high flame. Add the onion, peppers, celery and tomatoes and cook till onions are soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic, basil and oregano and cook another two minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, chicken, anchovies, parsley, breadcrumbs and sautéed vegetables. Place the eggplant flesh in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Pat dry with a paper towel. This removes excess liquid from the eggplant and makes the filling less soggy. Add the eggplant to the mix and salt and pepper to taste. Add 3 Tbs. of parmesan cheese, mix well and add filling to the eggplant shells. Lightly press the filling and create small mounds in the shells if needs be.
Sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes or until browned.
Serve with brown rice.