Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sweet and Savory Eggplant Spears

Sweet and Savory Eggplant Spears
(for two)


- 1 half extra large Eggplant (or 1 whole medium sized Eggplant)

- 1 medium-large Onion

- Handful of baby Carrots (1 used 8)

- ½ lb of Ground Beef
-1-2 teaspoons whole Fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon dried Oregano

- ½ teaspoon ground Coriander

- 2 cloves Garlic

- 3 large Dates (or substitute 2-3 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries)

- ½ cup rice (brown jasmine or regular white)

- Dry White Wine (I used Chardonnay)

- Olive Oil

- 1-2 cups of Water

- Salt and ground Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Halve eggplant, sprinkle salt on the cut side and place in a colander to “sweat”.

Dice the onion and baby carrots. Mince the garlic (or use garlic press) 
and chop the dates (note the size).

Place the ground beef in a large pan with a tight fitting lid. Season it with salt, fennel seed and a generous splash of white wine. Break up the ground beef in the pan over medium heat. Cover and cook until the ground beef has very little pink left and the 
wine has been absorbed. 

Add a little bit of Olive Oil to the pan along with the onion and carrot. 
Cook over medium-low heat until softened. 


Adjust the salt and add the oregano, coriander, garlic, dates and pepper to taste. 
Stir to combine.

Add the rice to the pan and allow it to “toast” for a few seconds while stirring. 

Add 1 cup of water to the pan and cover. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Keep covered and cook for about 25 minutes. *Note: If your pan has a tight fitting lid, this should be sufficient liquid to cook the rice, but keep an eye on it. If the rice is not cooked and the liquid has evaporated, add more water to the pan 
and continue to cook (covered).

Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Brush olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side up. 

Loosely cover the eggplant with a second piece of foil, pinching it at the ends. This will keep the eggplant from drying out in the oven. Bake 30-35 minutes, checking on it half-way through the cooking time.

To serve: Cut the eggplant in half to form two “spears” (or if using medium sized eggplant simply put one half on each plate). Spoon some of the rice mixture over the larger end of each “spear”. Garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon. 

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