The idea for this rich meat dish came from Michael Villella, whose mother cooked a similar specialty on feast days when he was growing up in Detroit.
Lightly score eggplant, and steam until soft, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Soak bread cubes in water and squeeze out excess. Combine in bowl and beef, egg, 1/4 cup of the cheese, garlic oregano, and pepper. When cool remove eggplant pulp, leaving 1/2-inch shell intact and chop. Combine pulp with meat mixture and divide into 8 portions. Stuff each shell.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat half the olive oil in skillet over high heat. Brown each shell on stuffing side and set aside. Stuffing-side up. (Use remaining 2 tablespoons oil for frying.)
Coat bottom of 9 X 13-inch baking pan with a cup of tomato sauce. Arrange shells, stuffing-side up, in sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over top, and bake, uncovered 1 hour, basting occasionally. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and serve hot with pasta.
This delectable curry takes no time to prepare. Serve with rice and a sweet chutney.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. sauté eggplant with salt until soft and golden. Drain on paper towels.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot and reduce heat to medium. sauté onion, garlic, and ginger until soft. Add curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add water and sugar, bring to a broil, and cook 1 minute longer at high heat. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Add eggplant and tomato, reduce heat, and cook just to blend flavors, about 4 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve hot over rice.
by Helene Siegel
Publication Date: May 15, 1996
Repinted with permission
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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