stuffed eggplant boats with spiced beef and bechamel

Eggplant serves double duty as a vegetable and a serving vessel in this creative recipe. Ground beef is seasoned with cinnamon and cooked with tomatoes and...
By: Anna Becker / 07/25/2016 /

Bechamel, a much-loved creamy sauce made with milk and flour, gets flavored with Parmesan for a cheesy topping. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

What you'll need: 2 small eggplants 1 shallot ¼ oz fresh parsley 1 oz Parmesan 8 oz ground beef ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 can cherry tomatoes 6.75 oz whole milk olive oil coarse salt freshly ground black pepper all-purpose flour

Equipment: rimmed baking sheet grater or microplane large skillet small saucepan

Recipe steps:

  1. Prep eggplants Preheat oven to 425ºF. Halve eggplants and using a spoon, scoop out flesh, leaving about an ⅛-inch–¼-inch border. Coarsely chop eggplant flesh and set aside. Drizzle eggplant boats with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on rimmed baking sheet until golden and softened, 12—15 minutes.

  2. Prep ingredients Meanwhile, halve, peel, and finely chop shallot. Remove parsley leaves from stems; roughly chop leaves and finely chop stems. Grate Parmesan.

  3. Cook beef filling Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add shallot and parsley stems and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in eggplant flesh and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, 3–5 minutes. Add beef and cinnamon and cook until beef is browned, 3–5 minutes.

  4. Finish beef filling Stir in cherry tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Lower heat to medium and cook until thickened, 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half of grated Parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper.

  5. Make bechamel Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium. Whisk in 1 tablespoon flour and cook until golden and nutty, 1–2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining Parmesan.

  6. Broil and serve Switch oven to broil with rack 6 inches from heat element. Divide beef filling between eggplants and top with sauce. Broil until brown and bubbly, 3–5 minutes. Divide boats between 2 plates and garnish with remaining chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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