PAPOUTSAKIA – GREEK STUFFED EGGPLANT
Papoutsakia or stuffed eggplants translates to little shoes in Greek. It is one of the many ladera (la-the-ra) dishes, cooked with lots of good olive oil and served as a main course.
Papoutsakia is a traditional recipe of stuffed eggplants with beef mince and béchamel … Serve the stuffed eggplants as a starter or main dish with a nice Greek salad and some crusty bread.
For eggplants and ground meat
*3 eggplants, medium sized
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*3 tablespoons thyme or oregano, finely chopped
*1 clove of garlic
*pinch of sugar
*¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
*¼ teaspoon ground cloves
*250 g ground meat
*40 g red wine
*1 can chopped tomatoes
*50 g Greek kefalotyri cheese , grated
*1 bunch mint
For béchamel sauce
*25 g butter
*25 g all-purpose flour
*250 g milk, at room temperature
*50 g gruyere cheese, grated
*2 egg yolks
*¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
you can use the bechamel mix
For the eggplants
Preheat oven to 200* C (390* F) Fan.
Cut the eggplants in half, lengthwise and remove the stems.
Use a sharp knife to score the flesh in a crisscross manner without tearing the skin.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread over the surface of the eggplants with your hands.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and add eggplants cut side down.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until they soften.
When ready, remove from oven and transfer to an oven proof baking dish, skin side down. Press down on the flesh to create an “indentation” to add the ground meat filling.
For the ground meat mixture
Place a nonstick pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let it get very hot.
Coarsely chop the onion and garlic. Add them to the pan.
Add the sugar, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper.
Stir with a wooden spoon and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they caramelize nicely.
Add the ground meat and sauté for 2-3 minutes until golden.
Add the wine and wait until the alcohol evaporates.
Add the tomatoes and allow the mixture to boil for 10-15 minutes, until it reduces.
When ready, remove from heat and set aside to cool a little.
Add the Kefalotyri cheese , parsley, thyme and mint.
Mix and fill the eggplants with a spoon.
For the béchamel sauce
Place a pot over medium heat.
Add the butter, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until the butter melts and the mixture is completely combined.
Add the milk in 5 batches, while continuously whisking and wait for each addition to become completely incorporated before adding the next.
As soon as the first bubbles appear on the surface, remove from heat.
Add the gruyere, nutmeg, pepper, salt and egg yolks. Whisk until completely incorporated.
Use a spoon to spread the béchamel sauce over the ground meat filling and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.
Serve with some extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped parsley.
The milk should be at room temperature so that no lumps form in the béchamel sauce.