Spanish Stuffed Eggplant Recipe
I know, right. When you think of Spanish cuisine and food, then you might not immediately think of eggplant dishes or eggplant recipes. However this eggplant recipe is a very popular one here! You will very often find berenjenas rellenas on a 3 course lunch menu as a main meal. Lots of Spanish delis also sell ready made stuffed eggplants. Saves you some time preparing them from scratch at home!
I do buy those from time to time and they’re good. But once in a while I like to prepare these eggplants myself. It’s not just something you can whip up in a couple of minutes. These eggplants contain 2 layers: a layer of ground meat topped off with a layer of creamy bechamel white sauce. A tad time consuming. But nevertheless very rewarding once you tuck into your meal.
Ground Meat & Bechamel
Hmmm that ground meat stuffing is so good… Especially with that creamy layer of white sauce on top! Do you often make white sauce at home? It’s quite easy to make. Here in Spain you can buy ready made bechamel. Just pour it on top of whatever you are making and you’re done!
I like to make béchamel white sauce from scratch though. Butter, flour, milk. Pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Easy as hell.
What also goes into these stuffed eggplants is that eggplant meat you have to scoop out in order to fill them up again later. Once you’ve added all the layers, just sprinkle the eggplants with grated cheese and bake them in a hot oven. Mission completed.
Yummy Spanish berenjenas rellenas!
- 1 large fresh eggplant
- 9 oz ground beef (250 g)
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1 small garlic clove chopped
- 4 tbsp canned chopped tomatoes
- a handful Emmental cheese grated
- 1 tsp dried herbs
- ⅓ cup whole milk (80 ml)
- ½ oz plain flour (15 g)
- ½ oz unsalted butter (15 g)
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. With a spoon remove the inside but keep it aside until later. Try not to damage the skin or the mince filling will spill out.
Place the eggplant halves on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake the eggplant for about 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) until soft. Then let the roasted eggplant cool at room temperature. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped garlic and shallot.
Gently stir fry them for a minute. Then add the ground beef.
Brown the beef for a few minutes. Now add the tomatoes and eggplant you kept aside. Season with the dried herbs and a pinch of pepper and salt.
Stir well. Cover the saucepan and let the mince mixture simmer for about 8 minutes. We'll make the bechamel sauce now. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour.
Stir well. Bake the flour over low heat for about 2 minutes. Then turn the heat back up and then add the milk little by little.
At first the sauce will be thick and sticky. Keep adding extra milk until it's a little runnier.
Stir constantly. In the end you should end up with a fairly thick white sauce. Season to taste with nutmeg, pepper and salt.
Add a tablespoon of this bechamel sauce to the tomato filling.
Stir well. Check the seasoning of the mixture and also add extra pepper or salt. Then fill up the roasted eggplants.
Top with a layer of bechamel sauce and finish with some grated cheese and a last sprinkle of pepper and salt.
Bake the stuffed eggplants in a hot oven at 356°F (180°C) until golden. Serve hot.