This eggplant dish is meatless however it will leave you totally satiated. The walnuts and bulgur do the trick: Paired with fresh pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic and a touch of cinnamon, they deliver depth of flavor and a sweet/tart taste.
I came up with this last summer but go back to it whenever it is pomegranate season; the stuffing can include rice or breadcrumbs or other grains instead of bulgur. Yogurt is a topping that my daughter thought of and it worked very well.
- 4 to 6 eggplants, preferably the long and skinny ones
- 1/2 cup of fine bulgur (#1)
- 1 cup of walnuts, chopped coarsely
- 3 cloves of garlic, mashed in a mortar with a teaspoon of salt
- 3 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon or allspice
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper or 1 red chili pepper depending on taste
- 8 oz (1 cup) of fresh pomegranate juice (or bottled)
- olive oil, as needed
- yogurt if desired
- Peel the eggplants with a vegetable peeler; sprinkle with salt and let them drain some juice for a while (30 minutes or longer). To make pomegranate juice, place pomegranate arils in a food processor, pulse a few seconds and drain through a sieve collecting the juice and pressing on the seeds with a meat mallet. Mix the juice with the pomegranate molasses and the brown sugar.
- Mash the garlic, chop the walnuts. Soak the bulgur in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes and drain, squeezing the excess water out. Mix the bulgur, walnuts, garlic, cinnamon and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl.
- Dry the eggplants and fry in hot oil until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes or so. Drain on paper towels and with a knife, score the eggplants in the middle lengthwise; insert the stuffing with a spoon.
- Place the eggplants in a skillet, add the pomegranate juice and cover. If you have stuffing leftover, add it to the pomegranate sauce (it will give the sauce some body); simmer over gentle heat for 40 minutes or until the eggplants are extra tender and soft. Serve warm or at room temperature with some yogurt if desired.
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