Spanish stuffed aubergines

This is a delicious dish and a bit of a change to the casseroles and stews that become ubiquitous at this time of year.

It’s a vegetarian dish but if you’re keen to include meat, you could happily add tuna (as we have in the pictured dish) or chorizo but I’d say try it without first because I think it’s really well balanced.

I did cheat a bit on this dish and bought ready to eat lentils (the original recipe includes cooking the lentils in red wine and stock for 30 mins) but I’m sure if you used proper lentils it would have even more depth of flavour.

Despite having all that freed up time I would have otherwise spent cooking lentils, I didn’t actually put together a side dish or accompaniment – because the recipe includes a few veg as well as beans, lentils and cheese, I was quite content with the stuffed aubergine as a whole dish. However I’m sure most greens would go really well – broccoli, kale, peas etc. Even salad – we had some of the stuffing left over so I mixed it in with spinach for my lunch the next day, and it was lovely.

So, on with the instructions:

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine
  • 250g ready to eat puy lentils
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pepper
  • tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g cheese of choice – parmesan, manchego or goats cheese
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • handful flat leaf parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6
  2. Wash the aubergine, then cut in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. Brush with olive oil before placing in an ovenproof dish, and cover with foil. This now needs to bake for 30 minutes, which is just enough time to prepare the rest of the dish!
  3. Dice the onion and carrot and mince the garlic while heating a tbsp of cooking oil (olive, coconut, etc) in a pan.
  4. Saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes before adding the carrot and the chopped aubergine flesh.
  5. Cook for a further 5 minutes while chopping the pepper into bitesize chunks and crushing the fennel seeds. Then add the pepper, fennel seeds, paprika and another tbsp of olive oil to the pan.
  6. Cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the beans and lentils. If you’re adding tuna, put it in now as well. Heat for another few minutes until the beans have warmed through.
  7. Take the pan off the heat and grate over the cheese and add in most of the chopped parsley.
  8. Season to taste and mix well.
  9. Check the aubergines are cooked to your satisfaction, then spoon the mixture into the shells. Sprinkle with the left over parsley and serve!
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