One of my aunt Miriam's best dishes a humble, but very delicious and unique braise. Given the abundance of eggplant in the Middle East and Israel, the people of the levant have found thousands of ways to prepare this wonderful nightshade.
Here, aunt miriam prepares mafrum, a libyan specialty that can be made by stuffing assorted vegetables with meat or lamb. She cuts fat crosswise slices of eggplant and then makes a second incision almost all the way through leaving just a bit in tact. Next the eggplant is stuffed with savory mixture of ground beef, herbs, spices and onion. It all gets dipped in an egg wash and fried. This helps to seal the sandwich together before being braised in a simple mixture of tomato, chicken broth and herbs.
Serving Size: Serves 4-6
For the Eggplant:
1 lb ground beef
2 large, evenly lengthed Italian eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1” pcs.
1 small yellow onion, minced or grated
½ cup bunch of parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
Canola oil, for frying
For the Sauce:
2 cloves garlic chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. Paprika
2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
24 fl. oz. chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
InstructionsStuffing the eggplant
For the Eggplant:
Combine the beef, onion, and parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the eggplant slices in half leaving one side intact.
Divide the meat into the pieces of eggplant, sandwiching it. Dip the eggplant and meat in the egg, draining off the excess.
Meanwhile heat a thin film of oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat.
Gently fry the eggplant on both sides in batches until golden and slightly tender. Transfer to a plate.
Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer in large sautoir or braising pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add the stuffed eggplant. Place heat on low, cover and cook about 1 hour. Serve with rice or alone.