Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplants)
Papoutsakia is stuffed eggplants baked until soft, filled with a tomato-based meat sauce, topped with béchamel sauce and cheese, and baked till they get a beautiful golden color!
‘Melitzanes papoutsakia’ (Greek stuffed eggplant) is a traditional Greek dish with eggplants which receives its name from the resemblance of its shape with little shoes.
The taste and the ingredients are very similar to the popular dish, moussaka! They are soft, tender and so filling! As a alternative to béchamel sauce, you can add yogurt on the top. For a vegetarian version, leave out the mince and add mushrooms and other vegetables.
Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplants)
For the meat sauce:
For the béchamel sauce:
- 100 gr flour
- 100 gr butter
- 900 ml milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Begin by slicing the eggplants in half and carefully hollowing out the flesh by making crosswise cuts. Season the eggplants and place them in a colander for approximately 30 minutes.
- Rinse them thoroughly with plenty of water and then drain them on kitchen paper towels.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F). Season the eggplants with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with olive oil. Arrange the eggplants, skin side up, on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the eggplants for about 40 minutes, or until they become tender.
- While the eggplants are baking, prepare the meat sauce for the 'papoutsakia.' Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil, and sauté the onions until they become soft.
- Add the garlic and continue to sauté. Increase the heat, add the minced beef, and break it up using a spoon. Sauté until the meat browns. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and allow it to evaporate for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, cinnamon stick, a pinch of sugar, oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Towards the end of cooking, add 1-2 handfuls of grated cheese and chopped parsley, and stir.
- Prepare the béchamel sauce for the Greek stuffed eggplants. In a large pan, melt some butter over low-medium heat. Gradually add the flour while whisking continuously to create a smooth paste. Slowly pour in the warmed milk, continuing to whisk to prevent lumps.
- If the sauce needs further thickening, simmer it gently while stirring. Remove the pan from the heat, and quickly stir in the egg yolks. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk briskly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Adjust the salt to taste.
- Arrange the eggplants in a baking dish, placing them skin side down. Hollow out some of the flesh to create space for the filling. Sprinkle the eggplants with grated cheese and spoon the meat sauce over each piece. Top with the béchamel sauce and finish with another layer of grated cheese.
- Bake the stuffed eggplants at 180°C (356°F) for approximately 20 minutes or until they achieve a lovely golden color.
- Serve this delectable Greek eggplant dish as a starter or main course, accompanied by a Greek salad and some crusty bread.
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