(stuffed baby Eggplant)
Papoutsakia is a dish that is popular in both Southern and Northern regions of Greece with variations on the size of Eggplant. For the most part it is made with baby or small Eggplant that resembles baby shoes which would be the literal translation for Papoutsakia. This is a dish that can be enjoyed with either Agioryitiko (red) or a Moschofilero (white) wine .
Serves 4 to 6
|10 small eggplant approx. 3 lbs - ( long and thin)
||2 med. sized tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
|½ lbs minced or ground lamb
|| 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
|½ lbs minced or ground pork
||2 med. sized finely chopped onions
|4-6 minced or ground chicken livers
||¼ cup chopped parsley
|1 cup olive oil
||¼ cup finely chopped mint
|¼ cup butter
||¼ cup finely chopped basil
|¼ cup white or red wine
||1 ½ tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
|3 cups chicken stock
||½ teaspoon pepper
|½ cup grated cheese kefalograviera
||2 teaspoons salt or to taste!
|2 cups bechamel sauce
||3 tablespoons tomato paste
Begin by sautéing onions and minced meat in a sauce pan at medium to high heat with a tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Stir this mixture constantly. Once the meat has browned lower heat to low setting and add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, ½ herbs, 3 cups chicken stock, wine, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. remove from heat, strain, reserve liquid and let cool for approximately 15 minutes. At this point add the remaining herbs, ¼ cup grated cheese and the bread crumbs.
Next you must prepare the eggplant (aubergine)
Peel a one inch wide strip from one end to the other of the eggplant. Then take your knife and slice it lengthwise making sure to not go through the bottom and to leave it short about an inch from both ends like splitting a baked potato. This will be for stuffing the eggplant. If you wish you may use a spoon and scoop out a small amount of the eggplant to fit the mixture into the center of the eggplant. wash and dry the eggplant. At a medium heat setting, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, cover and cook the eggplant until lightly brown and soft, remember to turn from time to time. Carefully remove your eggplant from the frying pan and place into a baking dish or pan. Using a spoon, stuff the eggplant with the meat mixture and cover each piece with the béchamel sauce and dust with some more grated cheese. Now add the reserved liquid to the pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350f for 40 minutes or until the béchamel has lightly browned. Remove from oven let sit for 15 minutes and serve.
note: ( you can use any meat in substitution of the ones I use, but remember to keep the same ratios, 1 lbs of minced meat. If you like you can change this recipe by using diced vegetables in place of the meat, to make it a vegetarian dish, just remember to substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock)
Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of butter and on medium heat cook in a small sauce pot until the consistency is like cookie dough, this is roux . Now add the 2 cups of milk to the roux and stir until this mixture thickens to the consistency of pancake batter or fully coats the back of a spoon. Take the béchamel off the heat and add a small pinch of grated nutmeg, the remainder of the grated cheese and one egg. Mix and beat this mixture until smooth. This is your béchamel.
Traditionally this dish is topped with béchamel sauce and is
reminiscent of moussaka. The ingredients are the same, the execution and presentation is different.
Enjoy your creation and " Καλι Ορεξι ! " (kali oreksi)
1) When adding salt always remember to taste the mixture to assure there is enough before adding anymore.
2) also the meats used in this recipe can be changed to whatever your imagination can think of .
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