This aubergine-based recipe literally translates to ‘little eggplant shoes’. The original recipe for papoutsakia calls for halved eggplants, but the Ottoman version of this recipe prefers to create incisions in the vegetable and keep the juices in.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
500g minced beef
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup grated kefalotiri or 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
12 small round eggplants
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- Preheat over to 180°C
- Peel a thin 2cm strip from one end of the eggplant to the other and make an incision along the strip to create a little pocket.
- Place in baking dish and bake in moderate oven until soft and light brown, about 30-45 minutes.
- Saute the onions, garlic, meat and cinnamon lightly in butter, stirring constantly in a large pan or pot.
- Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook covered for about 15 minutes, allowing the juices to reduce and the meat to dry before removing it from the heat.
- Add parsley, the egg, cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Create an opening in the eggplant and stuff with the meat mixture, making sure each little eggplant gets an equal amount of stuffing.
- Melt butter over low heat and add flour, then salt, pepper and nutmeg; stirring until everything blends.
- Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk .
- Return to heat stirring constantly, until the bechamel sauce is thick and smooth.
- Remove from heat and add the egg and remaining cheese to the sauce and whisk briskly, to prevent the egg from curdling.
- Pour about one tablespoon on top of each eggplant pocket.
- Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and dot with butter.
- Add tomato sauce to the pan.
- Bake for about 35 minutes longer.