I assure you, this is a meal that you will never forget. All the necessary ingredients are here: eggplants (aubergines), meat and creamy bechamel sauce. It’s the kind of meal that you savour every bite and you want to take your time and appreciate it with a glass of wine.
Flavoursome eggplants are important, like the ones you can find in the summertime in Southern Europe. However, as long as you drain them for a couple of hours to reduce the bitter juices, you are on a safe road to success with any eggplant you find in a supermarket.
Typically this dish is made with beef or veal but you can use any kind of meat you prefer. Ground turkey thighs would be a healthier choice, where lamb would send you directly to hell (with a smile in your face though)!
- 3 large eggplants.
- 400 gr (14 oz) ground beef.
- 2-3 large tomatoes.
- 1 onion chopped.
- 2 garlic cloves chopped.
- 2 teaspoons of tomato paste.
- Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley.
- ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil.
- 1 teaspoon paprika.
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Salt and ground pepper.
- Home-made bechamel sauce.
- Cut the eggplants in half, season them with plenty of salt and place them in a colander for 1-2 hours to drain the bitter juices.
- Rinse the eggplants with cold water and place them facing up on a tray. Use a kitchen brush and spread some olive oil on top. Bake them in the oven at 180 Celsius (360 F) until they become brown.
- Add the tomatoes and parsley in a blender and make a smooth paste.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and warm it up on medium heat. Add the onion until softened. Add the garlic, let it cook for ~ 1 minute and add the beef. Add the paprika, oregano, season with salt and pepper and let it cook until juices have reduced. Stir from time to time.
- Lower the heat, add the fresh tomato paste from the blender, the concentrated paste, stir well and let the meat cook for ~ 15 minutes until juices are reduced.
- Place the baked eggplants on a tray covered with greaseproof paper. Use a spoon and press the eggplant to create a shallow cavity. Add some meat mixture in the cavity and cover with some bechamel sauce. You may add some cheese on too (preferably mozzarella) if you like.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180 Celsius (360 F) until the bechamel becomes brown.
- Serve them hot and...bon appetit!