Monday, August 6, 2012

Indian Eggplant Casserole

Today is one of those days that I am longing for bangs. Could be those bangs from elementary school that started in the middle of my head. Or the ones I curled so perfectly every morning during 8th grade as I was growing out the layers. Today, I am regretting my lack of bangs.


I was so inspired by Michael Phelps and his 22 Olympic medals (holy-moley, what an accomplishment!) that after I soaked up some sun at the pool yesterday, I decided to try a few laps. Now, you should know that I quit swimming before I learned how to dive, I can tread water but I really have no skill for any of the traditional strokes, and I have a fear of opening my eyes under water. Which is why I ended up banging my forehead on the lip of the pool yesterday. Now it hurts and I'm supporting a very attractive bump (hence, the sudden desire for bangs). Actually, the bump isn't super noticeable, but it is a little red and swollen and kinda looks like rug burn (or maybe sunburn from afar). Fail, Julie, Fail.

           I suppose there will be no gold medal for me in Brazil 2016. :(

What wasn't a fail was my second attempt at Indian cuisine this weekend. I came across this stuffed eggplant recipe a few weeks ago. I picked up an eggplant from the Farmer's market with the recipe in mind. Of course, the recipe calls for smaller Asian eggplants instead of the large purple one I got. Also, it called for ground bison; I have no idea where I would get bison and how much money it would cost me, so I opted for ground turkey instead. I decided to be inspired by flavors the stuffed eggplants and create a "lasagna" of sorts. The eggplant separates layers of the Indian spiced ground turkey, mushrooms and rice. It really turned out great.

Once again, you'll have to ransack your spice cabinet to get all the correct flavors. But it is worth the long ingredient list. You can certainly remove the mushrooms if you are adverse to them or replace the ground turkey with tons more mushrooms if you are going for a vegetarian meal. I made the dish for me, myself and I, but have included how I would adapt it for four servings at the end of the recipe.

Indian Eggplant Casserole (inspired by Eating Well)
4 1/4 inch slices of eggplant (about 1/4 large eggplant)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup long brown rice, cooked
2 button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Cooking spray
Greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Arrange the eggplant slices a baking sheet and brush with 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the eggplant is roasted thoroughly.

Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add the ground turkey, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and crushed red pepper. Cook until the turkey is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the rice,  mushrooms, and tomato paste and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly spray a mini-loaf pan with cooking spray. Layer 1 eggplant slice on the bottom followed by 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Follow with another eggplant slice, followed by 1/4 turkey mixture again. Repeat until all is added. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until pipping hot.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Serves 1.

**To make four servings, multiple everything by four and layer eggplant and turkey in an 8x8 baking dish.

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