This recipe from renowned cookbook editor Judith Jones is a great use for leftover rice (or store-bought shelf-stable cooked rice) and meat, turning it into a Moroccan-style dish for a solo cook. If you don't have leftover meat, fry some ground meat while the eggplant is cooling.
Make Ahead: The eggplant can be roasted a day in advance, then cooled, covered and refrigerated. Stuff it just before roasting.
- 1 small whole eggplant (about 5 inches long)
- 1/2 cup cooked brown or white rice
- 1/2 cup cooked meat, finely chopped (preferably lamb; may substitute pork, beef or leftover meatloaf)
- 1 scallion (white and light-green parts), finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE)
- 2 small canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, squeezed and cut into small dice (about 1/4 cup; may substitute 1 small fresh tomato, cut into small dice)
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 or 2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil.
Prick the eggplant all over with a fork and place it in the pan. Roast for 35 minutes or until it is softened but hasn't fully collapsed. Let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving at least a 1/2-inch border of skin and flesh all around. Chop the extracted flesh and add it to a medium bowl, along with the rice, meat, scallion, pine nuts and tomatoes. Season with the cinnamon and the salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
Spoon the filling back into the eggplant shells, mounding it up in the middle, and arrange the halves in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs to taste on top of each half, then drizzle with the oil. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the bread crumbs have browned.
NOTE: Toast pine nuts for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, in a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat, until the nuts have browned evenly.
Adapted from Jones's "The Pleasures of Cooking for One" (Knopf, 2009).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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