Papoutsakia... a.k.a. little shoes, a.k.a. stuffed aubergines
I'm all about making my life simpler. The easier the better really. When it comes to the kitchen, there are plenty of things I prep in bulk to save myself time later.
For example, I'll always roast 3 chickens at a time. Once they're ready, I clean the flesh, divide it into portions, & store it away in the freezer. That way when I want chicken in my salad, or a little chicken in a casserole or pasta dish, I can just defrost one of the portions & I'm ready to go. I also use the bones that way too... once all the meat is cleaned off, I boil all the bones with a little celery & carrot for 3 to 4 hours, & then I'm left with 3 jars of chicken stock which I can freeze & add to soups, or even boil vegetables in for the dog.
See? I save time.
So of course, like everything else, when I get around to making a bolognese sauce, I make enough for my current meal, plus another 4 large jars to stick in the freezer too. Now you might be thinking, "how much spaghetti Bolognese can you possibly eat?!". Well, not that much if I'm being honest. However, I have discovered that a basic bolognese recipe is the basis for quite a few meals. Lasagna for example. Or moussaka. Or even.... you guessed it... Papoutsakia (stuffed aubergines, greek style).
So I'm not going to sit here & tell you how to make bolognese sauce, you probably already have a recipe you know & love. What I will do though is give you my ingredients list for mine just so you can compare & contrast. Ingredients: - 4 large white onions, finely chopped - 5 cloves of garlic, minced - 500g minced beef - 500g minced pork - 1 small tin of tomato puree - 500ml red wine (dry, sweet, what ever your preference) - 8 large tomatoes - fresh basil - dried oregano - bayleaves - salt - pepper
The greeks like to add a little cinnamon to their sauce, it adds an interesting flavour to say the least. I leave it out when I'm making the bolognese sauce, & then will add a little to a jar of it if I'm making moussaka or papoutsakia.
So, without further ado... The reason why we're all here.
Ingredients: - 1 large jar of bolognese sauce for every 3 medium sized aubergines - 3 medium sized aubergines
- olive oil
- gruyere cheese, grated (or some other hard cheese if you don't like it) - bechamel (optional) - mashed potatoes (optional)
- spoon Directions:
1. preheat your oven to 180C
2. Slice your aubergines in half, lengthwise. You want to hollow out the inside of the aubergine leaving approximately 1cm of flesh on the skin of the aubergine. Do not discard the flesh that you hollow out, you will use it. I find using a paring knife is the most helpful here. You can slide the knife in at an angle & work your way around the aubergine, then go in with a spoon afterwards to neaten things up a bit. 3. lightly brush the aubergines halves with olive oil, & sprinkle lightly with salt. Place them in your baking dish, skin side down, & bake for 20 to 40 minutes until the flesh is tender. Remove them from the oven & set aside. 4. With remaining aubergine flesh, roughly chop it into cubes 1cm in size. I realise it won't be perfect, but roughly. 5. Place your cast iron skillet on the stove on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, drizzle in approximately 2 tbs of olive oil & add the aubergine cubes. Add salt to taste, & cook until all the flesh is soft & tender. 6. Mix the cooked aubergine chunks into your bolognese sauce. Now, spoon the meat sauce into each of the aubergines shells until they are nice & full. You can over fill them a little, no one will judge you for it. At this point, you can then top each of the aubergines with béchamel or mashed potatoes. Personally, I don't. I find it all a little too heavy. But you can, & that's the point. Sprinkle each filled shell with as much (or as little) gruyere as you like, & pop them all back in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour @ 150C. 7. You can serve these with greek yogurt, feta cheese, or just eat them as is.
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