Stuffed Baby Eggplants w/Tomato-Eggplant Sauce
2 lbs small or baby eggplants
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups beef broth
1 can tomato sauce (29 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 T tomato paste
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tea allspice
1 tea dill weed
1 medium onion, diced small
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
2 T olive oil
4 tea salt
2 tea black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine rice, ground beef, diced tomatoes, parsley, 3 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, allspice, dillweed, and 1/2 of the onion.
Mix well using a spoon or your fingers and set aside.
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut the tops of the eggplants off and set aside.
Using a small spoon or apple corer, scoop out the flesh from the insides of the eggplants. Reserve one cup of the flesh. Make sure not to break the skin otherwise the filling will leak out during cooking.
The eggplants should look like this:
Using your fingers or a spoon, carefully fill each eggplant 3/4 of the way full with the stuffing.
They should not be overstuffed as the rice needs to expand during cooking.
Place the tops back on to the eggplants and place in a medium pot. Try to pack them in so they don't fall over. If needed, can use a toothpick to help keep the tops on. Pour the beef broth into the pot until it reaches halfway up the sides of the eggplant; do not submerge them completely!
Turn heat up to high until broth starts boiling, then decrease to medium; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the eggplants are cooking, heat olive oil in a small sauce pan until shimmering. Add the other half of the diced onion and the reserved eggplant flesh (if it is too chunky, chop it up) as well as 1 tea salt. Turn heat down to medium, stir and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often to make sure it is not burning, until the onions are translucent and the eggplant is soft. Add the tomato paste and garlic.
Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the tomato sauce and 1 tea pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Plate the eggplants and serve with rice; drizzle the sauce over the rice and the eggplants.