Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant with Red Pepper Purée

I made Stuffed Eggplant with Red Pepper Purée last night. It was such a great meal!  At one point the whole stove was going: cooking quinoa, steaming red bell pepper, sauteing onion and mushroom, and boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes!

I began by making the red pepper purée. A whole red pepper was cut into chunks and steamed on the stove. After it softened, I pureéd it in the blender and sent it through a sieve. The remaining smoothed out purée was stirred up with garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of sugar.

Onto the eggplant!  This was a bit of a process, but totally worth it in the end. There were two choices for how to stuff the eggplant: Mediterranean Style or 1970s Alternative Lifestyle-Style. I chose the latter, not only for the awesome name, but also because it sounded so delicious! 

I began by cutting an eggplant in half, hollowing it out, and mincing up the insides. Onion, garlic, mushrooms, and minced eggplant cooked down on the stove with oregano, basil, and thyme. It made the whole kitchen smell so good ... something about cooking mushroom takes me back to my childhood. I loved scented moments that do that.

While this cooked, I made the quinoa. The real recipe calls for brown rice; oops ... I didn't have any. But I had quinoa!  And I have been trying for months to get Charlie into it, so this was the perfect chance to sneak it in. I cooked the quinoa in vegetable stock instead of water, which I think really made a difference, flavor-wise.

After everything cooked on the stove, the onion mixture and quinoa got mixed up in a bowl with a spoonful or two of cottage cheese, grated cheddar cheese, and some sesame seeds.  I spooned the mixture into the eggplants and sprinkled some paprika on top.  These bad boys were ready to bake in the oven!

They came out perfectly crispy on the outside.

I drizzled some red pepper purée over each.

YUM!  This whole dinner was a huge success.  I love the flavors in the stuffed eggplant and the red pepper purée was the perfect sauce to accompany it. Charlie even enjoyed the quinoa!  Win!