Bulgaria…

Friday, February 10 –

As I sit here trying to think of what to say about this dinner, my mouth is literally watering. Just remembering the smell of the food cooking is making me want to make it again for dinner tonight.

I definitely changed this recipe, but I’m sure it would be good as written too! I only made one eggplant for the four of us (Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, and our new guest, LostBoy) and cut the ingredients down accordingly. I used one shredded carrot, two celery stalks, four roma tomatoes, and two sweet onions. I also used one pound of ground lamb and an entire bulb of garlic. So I started with cooking the lamb, then added the onion and garlic, then the celery and carrot, then the tomatoes, and then topped it off with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. (I know what you’re thinking… “This isn’t really the recipe at all!” And you’d be mostly right. I used the recipe as the base and expanded it to a full entree from there.) I let the mixture simmer down a little while I scooped out the middles of the eggplant. Then I filled it with the lamb and veggie mix, surrounded it with the rest, topped it with a light sprinkle of parmesan, and baked it for 25 minutes. The smell was intoxicating, let me tell you!

On the side I served a small green salad and some fresh sourdough bread. For LostBoy and I, I also made black pepper mushrooms (olive oil, sliced mushrooms, garlic salt, and a half a ton of black pepper – saute until soft). I felt like it needed a little bit extra (the salad and mushrooms) and something to scoop up the yummy juices (the sourdough). Definitely good choices!

The eggplant was firm but well cooked. The lamb and veggie mix was full of flavor with a slight heat-spice because of the red peppers. The salad was a great starter. And the bread was a great way to soak up the juices!

Things I have learned: You can eat eggplant skin! Weird! Of the few ways I’ve ever cooked it the recipes always said to peel them first. So surprise, surprise, you can eat the skin. It definitely changed the flavor a little, but in a good and interesting way. So next time you think to cook eggplant, don’t be afraid to leave the skin on!

Bulgaria
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.findbgfood.com)

Imambayalda (Babaganoush, Stuffed Eggplants)

  • 4 eggplants
  • 6 tomatoes, grated
  • 5 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 celery, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • half a lemon,
  • 1 bay leaf,
  • parsley,
  • peppers,
  • half a cupful sunflower oil,
  • salt

Preparation:  Remove the top of the eggplants and scoop out the soft insides (you should end up having 4 hollow eggplants with half of their meat still on the sides). Heat the oil and cook the onions until golden. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic and parsley, add the bay leaves and some water and sauté for 5 minutes. Stuff the eggplants with this mixture (you can add some of their meat you scooped out if you don’t have enough ingredients to fill them with), top with a slice of tomato and bake in a 375F oven for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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About devouringworldbites

A girl on a mission to cook, eat, and write about the world, one country at a time. View all posts by devouringworldbites

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