When it comes to grilled vegetables, stuffed eggplants are one of the most popular options and everybody’s favorite choice. And no wonder why! They have a wonderfully tender structure with a rather neutral taste that goes pretty much with everything. When prepared on the grill, however, they get a lightly smoky flavor I absolutely adore (not to mention their mind-blowing nutritional values and health benefits!).
My usual grilled eggplant recipes always come down to one thing – thin eggplant slices are sprinkled with some herbs and/or spices and then cooked for a couple of minutes over an open fire. Although they turn out to be fantastic every time, I have decided to go for something relatively more demanding and complicated (but ten times tastier!). I wanted to try out a classic Mediterranean stuffed eggplant recipe on my new Breeo Fire Pit. The meat is seasoned with a couple of classic herbs and spices and then combined with lightly fried onions and, of course, tomatoes. Eggplants are then stuffed with this mixture and gently baked in aluminum foil over a good, open fire. The result? An absolutely fantastic recipe you should definitely try out!
10oz lean ground beef
2 large eggplants
2 medium-sized onions
2 medium-sized tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves
¼ cup oil
½ tsp dried celery
¼ tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
A handful of fresh celery, finely chopped
First, prepare eggplants. Using a sharp knife and a spoon (or a melon baller), hollow out each eggplant leaving about ½ inch eggplant flesh along the interior walls. Generously sprinkle with some salt and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Let it sit for 20-25 minutes to drain excess moisture and bitterness. When done, thoroughly rinse under cold running water and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
Now, it’s time to start your Breeo fire pit. Start the fire using as you usually do, using small and dry branches followed by hardwood logs – one at the time. Let the fire burn for a while (about 15 minutes) and then add some more hardwood logs to create a strong, open fire.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Finely chop onions and place in a bowl. Lightly sprinkle with some salt and let it sit for a while to remove the bitterness. After about 5-10 minutes, transfer to a fine mesh sieve and rinse well. Drain and set aside. Chop tomatoes making sure to reserve the liquid. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Now, place the meat in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt, dried celery, dried rosemary, onion powder, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. If the meat is too dry, you may add a few drops of oil or a tablespoon of water but this is optional. Mix all well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large iron cast skillet and add onions and garlic. Cook until lightly brown and crispy and then add the meat. Give it a good stir and continue to cook (over an open fire) for 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Finally, add tomatoes and optionally some more seasoning to taste. Give it a good stir and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and chill for a while.
Meanwhile, add some more hardwood logs into your fire pit to keep a strong, open fire. Stuff eggplants with the meat mixture and tightly wrap each with a large piece of aluminum foil. Place on the grill and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until eggplants have completely softened.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle with finely chopped celery. Optionally, add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with some baked potatoes, rice, or fresh vegetable salad.