Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eggplant with Ground Beef

It appears that the Japanese eggplant may be winding down, though we've had a really good run.  There were some bugs that ate a few holes in the leaves, but they didn't affect production at all.  Once again, eggplant was a winning crop for us this year.

We had a couple of eggplant to use for dinner last night, but this recipe isn't really about the eggplant, as much as an excuse to share the way I prepared the ground beef that goes with it.  I grew up eating, and my mom still often makes Moussaka a la Greque, originally from the New York Times Cookbook, which is a delicious, but heavy meal, and a labor-intensive casserole to prepare.  I think I might have made it once.  But I use part of the recipe- the seasoning and the ground beef (traditionally, it's ground lamb)- all the time, with eggplant over rice, or sometimes as the stuffing in red peppers, topped with tomato sauce.  It starts with onions and butter, which is just the beginning of good smells wafting through the house, and then you add the ground beef, red wine, tomato paste, parsley, and cinnamon.  Yes, cinnamon.  It works so nicely.  I highly recommend it.

Eggplant with Ground Beef

2 thin or 1 large eggplant, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 pound ground beef (Note: I go for 85% lean with this recipe; too lean, means less flavor)
2 T butter
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup red wine
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1/8 t cinnamon

Sprinkle the eggplant with salt.  Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high and saute the eggplant until cooked through, and a little browned.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in the pan and saute the onions on medium, until they are slightly browned and softened.  Add the ground beef and stir until cooked through.  Then add the tomato paste, red wine, parsley and cinnamon, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the eggplant back in, and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve over rice, and with spinach, or haricot verts (my favorite), or no green vegetable at all if you're able to rationalize for yourself that the (few) vegetables you had at lunch are good enough for one day. 

It's not much to look at (I'm sure someone else could photograph it better), but the smell is irresistible.

One of these days, I do plan to return to posts about more than what we grow (or fail to grown) and what we eat.  My sister and I went to the Brimfield Antiques Show last Friday, and I picked up a few items that will be used to decorate our new bathroom.  Matt has been caulking and priming and we're very close to running out of little details to wrap up.  I've also been painting a few small things in the basement, including this cute but sad little table I picked up for free early this summer.
It feels good to get back into project mode, and I look forward to sharing a few things with you soon.

1 comment:

Tortla Dot said...

I love the recipe and make it almost the same way, without the luscious traditional crema topping used in moussaka. I use the larger eggplants available here and broil 1/2 inch thick cutlets. saves a few calories - and with so many other flavors I don't miss the butter.
Wish I had your delicate eggplants to use!