My life this summer has been filled with work, weddings, baby showers, and engagement parties, and I have been having such a hard time keeping up with everything I need to do! I remember growing up summers were so lazy, and now I can’t seem to find a moment to myself! One of the things I have actually missed the most is my daily blogging… it’s crazy how out of wack I feel personally when I don’t have this regular outlet!
So, a few weeks ago, I decided to have a night to stay in and just cook with my boyfriend’s brother and his girlfriend (the sweetest girl ever). It was a much needed Saturday night of vegging out watching Harry Potter (because for some reason Dany who is 28 years old has gone all these years without seeing it – nuts!), cooking, and just doing nothing. I can’t even remember the last time I had a Saturday night with no plans… I have to do that more.
Anyways, one of the many things Jennifer (Dany’s girlfriend, if you are keeping up 🙂 ) and I have in common, is our insane love for eggplant. I mean LOVE. We would sleep on eggplant pillows if we could, wash our face with eggplant scrub, eat it every day, every meal, I’m pretty sure we even both have dreams about it… yes like I told you, we are CRAZY for it! If you are making a weird face at that fact right now, trust me, make this dish and you will feel the exact same way – and if you don’t… well, I don’t know if we can be friends…. So, of course when we had a night in to cook we chose to make something with eggplant, and it turned out to be one of my favorite new dishes.
These Lebanese stuffed eggplant rolls were really very easy to make. We cooked the meat with a few things, roasted the eggplant, then rolled the meat inside, topped the rolls with the extra filling, and roasted. You can alter this dish in quite a few ways if you would like – add cheese, add extra veggies to the filling, whatever. I have tried it with and without cheese, and personally I prefer without – but to each his own! My boyfriend would disown me if he knew I wrote that I preferred something without cheese….
LOOK AT THIS GORGEOUS, PERFECTLY ROASTED EGGPLANT!! I have had so many people come over to my house when I am making eggplant that have told me they hated it until I make them taste mine, which I learned to cook from Albert’s mother. I am telling you, it is all about the way you roast it. If it’s done right, you will LOVE it!
I apologize that I don’t have the best photos of the finished product, it just turned out to be one of those recipes that I couldn’t quite get a picture of that I liked… that, and we ate it way too fast :).
Another thing I love about this dish is how great it freezes. I made one whole pyrex of it and froze in individual servings, and have been loving it on busy weeknights!
- 1½ lb. ground beef
- 1 sweet yellow onion, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 small eggplants, peeled in alternating strips, and cut lengthwise in about ¼ inch pieces.
- ⅛ tsp. onion powder
- ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. all spice
- 1¼ cup water
- 5 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 packet of Demi-Glace Gold, veal and beef flavor
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil to spread onto eggplant, about ¼ cup
- 1 Tbps. Grapeseed oil
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush olive oil onto each sheet, sprinkle with salt, and lay eggplant slices down. Brush a touch more olive oil on top of each piece, sprinkle again with a touch of salt, and place in the oven for about 15-17 minutes.
- Once you see the eggplant begin to turn golden brown, flip, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, and remove. All pieces should no longer have their original spongy texture - if they do, place them back in the oven for several more minutes until they are roasted all the way through.
- While the eggplant is roasting, you can continue to this step. Place 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil in a medium pan and heat. Place the onion and bell pepper in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes. Then, add in the ground beef, garlic, garlic and onion powder, cinnamon, and all spice, and cook. Break the meat up into small pieces as you cook, and add tomato paste, veal demi-glace, about 1 cup of the water after about 15 minutes. Cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low, until most of the liquid is gone and it is a bit thicker. Taste and adjust seasoning. You also may want to add the last ¼ cup of water and cook another 5-10 minutes, depending on how much more liquid you want.
- In a pyrex glass container, start rolling up the eggplant with about 2 tbsp. filling in each piece. Once you have rolled all the eggplant, top them with the rest of the filling. Bake for about 15 minutes and serve!