Papoutsakia – ‘little brinjal shoes’

This traditional Greek recipe uses brinjals or eggplants as the stars of the show. Papoutsakia in Greek means ‘little shoes’, as this is what they look like.

2 medium brinjals, cut in half lengthways with the flesh scooped out and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
500g minced beef
1 (425g) can tomatoes, chopped
1 cup beef stock
1⁄3 cup short-grain rice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
30g butter, melted
30g flour
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pinch ground nutmeg
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Add the onion to a pan with olive oil and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and mince and stir until well browned. Add chopped brinjal flesh, tomatoes, beef stock, raw rice and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened. Spoon this mixture into the brinjal shells. Make a sauce with the butter, flour and milk, and add the egg and nutmeg before spooning onto the filled shells. Sprinkle with finely grated parmesan and bake in a 180°C oven for 30 minutes.

The Gardener