Serves 5 to 8 (depending on size of eggplants). Recipe is by Corinne Cook.
4 small to medium eggplants
Pinch of salt
3 tbls. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1⁄3 cup chopped bell pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef or pork
Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs or crushed soda crackers, divided
1 tbl. chopped fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese for topping, optional
1. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh, leaving a ½-inch thick shell. Coarsely chop eggplant flesh and set aside.
2. Fill large pot with lightly salted water and bring to rapid boil. Place eggplant shells into water and blanch for about 2 minutes. Set aside to drain upside down.
3. In large skillet, melt butter and sauté onions, bell pepper, green onions and garlic. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add ground beef (or pork) and chopped eggplant, salt and peppers. Stir until meat is no longer pink, cover and cook additional 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Add about 2⁄3 cup of the crumb mixture to the cooked meat mixture. This will absorb some of the liquid but it should still be moist. If too dry, add a little water or white wine. Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary. Remainder of crumbs will be sprinkled over the tops.
6. Divide eggplant mixture between prepared shells. Sprinkle tops with remainder of breadcrumbs and parsley mixture and Parmesan cheese if desired.
7. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.