Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Stuffed aubergines

Aubergines have a bit of magic about them, not only are they beautiful and curved, with a stunning purple thin skin. The flesh becomes silky smooth when cooked. This recipe mixes the velvety flesh with mushrooms, spinach and cream with a twist of lemon and a crunch of pine nuts.

I made this as a veggie alternative to Sunday's roast chicken.

2 medium aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
225g mushrooms
5 large pellets of frozen chopped spinach or 350g of fresh spinach
50g parmesan, grated
6 tbsp cream
3tbsp breadcrumbs
1 lemon
25g pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Pepper and salt


Heat oven to 200C/180C/gas 6
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil
  • Cut aubergines in half lengthwise through the stems
  • Put aubergine halves into the boiling water, and cook for 4-5 mins then drain well on kitchen paper
  • Brush aubergines all over with olive oil, place on baking tray and cook for 20-25 mins, until tender and golden
  • While aubergine bakes:
  • Wash fresh spinach if using, if frozen set it to thaw
  • Toast pine nuts gently in dry pan over low heat – make sure they don’t burn, keep shaking the pan, until they are golden, and set aside
  • Finely chop the onion and garlic, put remaining oil in the pan and fry on a medium heat, until transparent and softened
  • Prepare fresh breadcrumbs 
  • Chop parsley
  • Grate zest from one washed lemon
  • Mix together topping of pine nuts, breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest
  • Once the aubergines are cooked, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1cm on the skin, setting them aside
  • Chop the flesh and add to fry with onions and garlic, for a few minutes
  • Slice mushrooms and add to onion and aubergine mixture, cook for around 5 minutes stirring all the time 
  • Add  spinach to fry with the mixture, until cooked – there shouldn’t be much liquid, add a squeeze of lemon juice (but no pips) and stir it in
  • Add cream, taste and season
  • Spoon mixture into aubergine halves
  • Sprinkle topping over mixture
  • Return to oven to cook for 10-15 minutes, until topping is golden and serve
You can prepare everything in advance and cook the stuffed aubergines from chilled, in which case check the heat make sure everything is piping hot before serving. 

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