Papoutsakia (baked stuffed eggplant little shoes)

These “little shoes” are awesome, they are named little shoes as there appearance is like classic kids shoes. Some people like to make them with no rice and lots of meat covered in béchamel and cheese, like moussaka. I like to use a little meat and rice with lots of herbs, maybe a little cheese. This can easily become vegetarian dish substituting a couple diced veggies instead of sausage meat.

Note: if you cannot find chorizo, Italian sausage will do.

Ingredients:

2 medium or large eggplant
1 cup long grain rice
2 small spicy uncooked chorizo sausages
Handful fresh dill chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
2 tomatoes diced
4 cloves garlic sliced
1 tbsp sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp grated asiago cheese

Remove the casings off the sausages and fry the meat in a pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes continuously stirring and breaking up the sausages along the way. Toss in the garlic and a couple glugs of olive oil. Stir in the rice, pepper and half of the salt, turn up the heat and add in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Toss in the herbs and tomatoes and turn heat to lowest setting, cover and steam rice for about 15 minutes until rice is al dente. Cut the eggplant in half length wise and chop off the stem. Using a spoon scoop out the inside of the eggplant and discard the seedy parts, just try to keep the eggplant meat that is less seedy and chop to a dice and add into pot of rice.

Pre-heat oven to 400*. In a large enough baking dish to hold the four eggplant halves, add a spoon of oil and arrange the eggplant face up and season generously with salt and pepper. When rice is ready pour out any remaining liquid and taste it to make sure seasoning is to your liking and if rice is undercooked don’t worry it will continue to cook in the oven. Fluff rice with a fork and add half the grated cheese, some olive oil and mix well. Stuff each eggplant half with the rice mixture and top with more cheese. Add in a little water in the bottom of baking dish, cover and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook an extra 5-10 minutes until cheese bubbles and crusts the top. When the stuffed eggplant is ready remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Best enjoyed with a greens salad and a glass of red wine.

Please comment and let me know how you made out the this recipe.

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