Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplants)
The following is one of the classic Greek recipes you can find anywhere on Greece during summer time. It’s one of those that I always disliked when I was young but learned to appreciate as I grew older.
Maybe it’s the minced meat, maybe the cream on top, or maybe the eggplants that make me like it so much now…Either way, I cooked it some hours ago and I believe was one of my best ever efforts…
So let’s get quickly into action. The recipe is called Papoutsakia (=small shoes), or stuffed eggplants.
INGREDIENTS FOR PAPOUTSAKIA
- 2-3 eggplants (one per person)
- 500 grs of beef minced meat
- 1 chopped onion
- 1-2 slices of garlic
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- A small bunch of parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine
- 3 teaspoons of butter
- 4 teaspoons of flour
- 3 glasses of milk
- 1 egg
- salt, cinnamon , nutmeg
Slice the eggplants lengthwise to create 6 pieces. Put some olive oil on top of them and place them in an oven dish. Bake in the 180oC for 40 minutes and in the meantime we are gone make the filling and the cream sauce.
In a frying pan we put the chopped onion and the chopped slices of garlic. When they become a little bit brown we add the minced meat in medium heat and stir. When it starts get to brown also we add Red wine and lower the heat. After the wine is more or less evaporated we add the can of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, the cinnamon stick, and parsley and let it boil. Add a little bit of water if you have to.
Now for the béchamel Sauce, Ok I have to admit it was the first time I did it so… Melt the butter in a nonstick pan and add the flour and stir. You have to becareful, you need to stir all the time so it won’t stick. Pour the milk and continue whisking to prevent clotting. Remove the pot from the eye, and put the egg and mix and finally the salt cinnamon and nutmeg.
Take out the eggplants from the oven. You need to check with the fork that the inside of the eggplant is soft. Add the minced meat on the inside of the eggplants and then add on top of it the béchamel Sauce to cover the meat as much as possible. Put it back in the oven until the béchamel Sauce becomes red.
When emptying the eggplant you can add the inside of the eggplant to the meat you prepare. This will give a nicer taste. You don’t need to empty the eggplants completely just push it to the sides so you have some space to add the minced meat.