Baked Stuffed Eggplant

Makes 6 servings

  • Fine sea or kosher salt
  • 6 small (about 8 ounces each) eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced about ½ inch
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 6 medium (about 2-inch caps) white mushrooms cut into quarters (about 2 cups)
  • Half a red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 to 4 ounces herbed or plain goat cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 to ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup store-bought vegetable stock or chicken broth

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems. Slice about ½ inch from the top of each eggplant, starting at the wide end of the eggplant and working toward the stem, but stopping about 1 inch from the stem end. Scoop out the flesh from the eggplant, leaving about ½ inch attached to the skin on all sides. Again, don’t scoop any from the stem end—the idea is to end up with a little eggplant “boat,” perfect for stuffing. Reserve the pulp. Slip the eggplants into the boiling water and cook, poking them to keep them submerged, 3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Let them cool while you make the stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until rippling. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they give off their liquid, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the peppers and reserved eggplant pulp. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of oil over the vegetables and continue cooking, stirring often, until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Stir the goat cheese into the filling, letting it melt and coat the vegetables.
Spoon the stuffing into the eggplants mounding it slightly. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the eggplant shells are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

The eggplant in the filling cooks down to a smooth texture. The big pieces of mushroom give you something to chew on.

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